Could There Be A Romney-Reid Debt Ceiling Crisis?

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Nov. 2 2012 2:24 PM

Could There Be A Romney-Reid Debt Ceiling Crisis?

My column for today is about economic policy if Mitt Romney wins with the core point being that since Democrats are almost certain to retain a Senate majority you'll mostly see filibusters for the next two years. That doesn't mean nothing will happen. It's relatively easy for the executive branch unilaterally not regulate business even without passing new laws, Romney will appoint a bunch of judges, and the GOP might take the majority in 2014. But there's no way he's going to come in, pass the Ryan budget in January, and set about fundamentally remaking American social policy.

Brian Beutler raises the further point that a Reid-led Senate might try to force a new debt ceiling crisis as part of its combat with the Bush administration.

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That strikes me as a little bit far-fetched. The combination of agenda control and filibusters will let Reid block all kinds of stuff without needing to keep every last Mark Pryor and Kay Hagan onside. But for a debt ceiling showdown, Reid would face not only defections from vulnerable red staters but also from a lot of mainstream Democrats. It'd also be thematically odd. The only hostage-taking on this front that would really make logical sense would be an effort to get taxes raised, but Democrats can get higher taxes just by filibustering extension of the Bush tax cuts.

Never say never to something crazy happening in congress, but I have a hard time seeing what a new debt ceiling fight would accomplish for anyone.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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