Playing Games with Default
I recently went on the O’Reilly Factor and told Bill that despite what the President was saying, despite what the Treasury Secretary was saying, despite what Senator Schumer and a hundred other liberal Democrats were saying, there was “zero chance” of the United States government going into default.
I also berated the media for constantly telling us that default was a real possibility. The common meaning of “default,” I said, is when the government doesn’t pay its lenders, the people who hold our bonds. And there was no chance that would happen since the government takes in more than enough tax money each month to pay off the debt – hence, no default.
Some in the media, I said, told their viewers and readers that default was just over the horizon because they were Obama allies and behaving more like stenographers than journalists. The president said it, so they repeated it. But for many others, I went on, it wasn’t a matter of ideology. Rather it was a matter of “abysmal ignorance” regarding finances and economics.
Later that night, a perceptive Dick Morris told Sean Hannity the following:
“When he says that we’re facing a disaster if there is a default, I hate to disrespect the president, but he’s lying. He now doesn’t claim that we’re going to default on our debt. He says we’ll default on our obligations. Well folks, there’s enough money to pay the debt, the social security, Medicare, military pay and a hundred other things. The obligations he’s talking about are the bureaucrats in the labor department and the commerce department and the agriculture dept and the state dept. And those obligations are not the obligations we really care about. The president [is using] total fear tactics and it’s a lie. A big lie.”
So now we’re defining “default” as the failure to pay bureaucrats on time? Try that definition on the Wall Street crowd and they'll laugh in your face.
I understand why politicians throw the word default around. They want to scare people and put pressure on Republicans to make a deal along Democratic lines. I get that. It’s called politics.
But shouldn’t we expect more from journalists? It’s a rhetorical question, folks.