For the sake of the nation, the game playing in Washington has to end.
With the Federal government in the second week of a shutdown, the Republican-led House is discussing a plan to lift the debt limit through Nov. 22 – while doing nothing about the shutdown. This is not a serious response to what threatens to become a national crisis.
By not raising the federal debt ceiling and pushing the United States government to the brink of default, some extreme members of Congress are setting in motion a series of events that could have disastrous consequences for the American people.
The government shutdown has already imposed severe hardship on many families. If the U.S. government is unable to issue more debt, the cash-flow realities of the Treasury will require that Social Security payments, military and civilian pensions, payments to contractors, federal salaries, and/or payments of interest and principal on Treasury securities be halted shortly after Oct. 17.
The foundation of the world’s financial system, the absolute creditworthiness of U.S. Treasury securities, will be undermined. Nobody knows exactly what effects that will have on the world’s financial system and economy, but no sane person would want to unleash a chain reaction of unknowable consequences on the City, country, and the world.
The temporary fix now being discussed in Washington will only create more uncertainty and risk.
John C. Liu is the New York City Comptroller