Queen of the tea party Rep. Michele Bachmann, with an assist from former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, is ramping up her battle urging Congress to block an increase in the federal debt ceiling.
Forget it, says House Speaker John Boehner. That's a recipe for a global economic disaster, it does nothing to cut spending or help create jobs, and the House isn't going there.[jump]
Doubtless he also remembers what happened the last time Republicans running the House pulled that stunt, under Newt Gingrich: They resurrected the popularity and power of Bill Clinton after hammering him, and his party, in the 1994 midterms.
Don't tell that to Bachmann.
Tell Congress, "Don't Raise the Debt Ceiling," she says on her political action committee's website.
With the national debt $14 trillion and counting, Congress' spending frenzy cannot continue. It's time to force our elected officials to stop spending cold turkey, and we can start by making sure they do not raise the debt ceiling. That's why I'm asking you to personally tell Congress not to increase the amount of money the government can borrow by adding your name to the "Don't Raise the Debt Ceiling" petition.
Just after Election Day, Boehner scoffed at such talk.
"We're going to have to deal with it as adults," he said in November. "Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations."
And yesterday on Fox News, he stood his ground.
FOX NEWS: Do you agree with administration officials and other economists that defaulting on the full faith and credit of the United States would be a financial disaster?
BOEHNER: That would be a financial disaster not only for our country, but for the worldwide economy. Remember, the American people on Election Day said we want to cut spending and we want to create jobs. You can't create jobs if you default on the federal debt.
University of Minnesota economist Chris Phelan tells the Strib that Congress would have to cut 40 percent of the nation's budget - more than $1 trillion - in order to balance the budget and avoid defaulting on the debt.
"It's silly," neocon Bill Kristol said recently in The Weekly Standard. "This is irresponsible. I've seen no plausible plan that would enable us to go "cold turkey" (to use her term) fast enough or dramatically enough that we could reduce the deficit to zero in a few months."
A lot of Americans either have no idea what Boehner's talking about, or they don't care, because 42 percent of them just told a Gallup poll that listening to tea party ideas was "very important," and 29 percent said it was "somewhat important."