Have Republicans Figured Out What Reaching the Debt Limit Means?

Grace Wyler, reporting from Israel, gets a fresh-sounding debt limit plan from Sen. Rand Paul.

“We have tax receipts to pay for about 70 percent of the government and we’re running deficits of about 30 percent, so what I would say is pay for the 70 percent we would all keep going and stop paying the other 30 percent until we come to an agreement,” Paul said. “That agreement would include an amendment to gradually balance the budget over five years. The only thing the debt ceiling would do is force us immediately to have a balanced budget.” 

Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, gives a similar answer to ABC News. (Apologies for the automatic video, a horrific online trend that shows no signs of stopping.)

And as Congress quickly approaches another deadline to raise the debt ceiling, Chocola says its members should stand ready to allow the government to shut down if they can’t reach a satisfactory deal.

“The pain of a temporary shutdown the next few months pales in comparison to the pain of financial disaster of turning into Greece,” Chocola says. “We are on the road to Greece, there’s no question about that.”

I called this idea “fresh,” but that was a ruse: This idea was floated throughout the 2011 debt ceiling standoff. It misunderstands what would actually happen if the government ran out of borrowing authority. The government wouldn’t merely shut down, the way it does if a CR isn’t passed. As long as conservatives maintain this, theyr’e going to hold to a more intense negotiating stance.