Here’s what you need to know about this debt ceiling crisis: a deal will get done. It may already be done by the time you read this.
A lot of what’s been coming out of Washington is just jibber-jabber that’s hard to understand, but to review the simple parts: We’re trillions in debt. Some of the interest on that debt is coming due. Since we’re already so deep in the hole, we must borrow more to cover the payments. But something called the debt ceiling prevents Congress from doing that — unless Congress votes to do it anyway. The president could also do it himself based on the 14th Amendment. Or he can’t. Depends which lawyer you ask.
With me so far?
If something isn’t done, and we pass the deadline next week, the government will default, and it will be somewhere between a hiccup in the road and the calamity of the century.
Also, it’s the other party’s fault. It doesn’t matter which one you choose. Whatever side you’re on, it’s the other side’s fault that we’re in this mess. That’s the one thing everyone seems sure of.
All this political grandstanding is maybe the biggest bunch of hogwash from the legislative branch since Moby Dick was a minnow. (I know whales were never technically minnows. It’s just one of those old Southern sayings that sounds great when you say it, but doesn’t really make sense, which is why I found it appropriate in this situation.)
Why do I believe this is all hogwash? Because if there’s even a sliver of a chance that the U.S. government is not going to pay veterans, soldiers and old people — all electoral sacred cows — then these clowns will make a deal. When there is a lot of money and/or power at stake, deals get done. That’s something on which you can trust your Uncle Nate.
Just look at the NFL. Did anyone every really believe those tycoons and tattooed millionaires were going to let a whole season go up in smoke and watch billions of dollars go up with it?
And Congress won’t, either. It will be last-minute, but a deal will be made, because if there is one thing that is more important to Congress than the fiscal stability of the United States, it’s getting re-elected. No one is going to risk looking like they don’t care about the voters — or things about which the voters care deeply.
Of course, both sides have to keep their rich friends happy, too. No one gets re-elected on the $10 donations from retired homemakers. It’s the donation checks with lots of zeroes that stuff the war chests.
So, as soon as these people figure out how to keep Uncle Sam’s checks from bouncing while doing as little political damage as possible to themselves they’ll make a deal. And since I’m sure the White House doesn’t want to have to start ducking Chinese bill collectors, there will be plenty of incentive to compromise before the deadline.
Like I told you, when there is a lot of money and/or power at stake, deals get done.
And you can take that to the bank.
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.