You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation
Democracy Watch

These Four Experts Are Very Concerned That the Republicans Will Breach the Debt Ceiling

“For them, chaos is the point. But we have choices in response.”

Stephen Voss/Redux

As Trump’s Big Lie festers among the Republican Party and political norms continue to erode, we at The New Republic are pretty concerned about the future of small “d” democracy, both in the U.S. and abroad. So we’ve started a series we’ve termed Democracy Watch, wherein we will regularly survey experts, writers, and generally interesting thinkers on a specific question about the state of democracy and what keeps them up at night.

This month’s question: How concerned are you that House Republicans will cause a fiscal crisis (debt ceiling, government shutdown, etc) over the next two years?

Felicia Wong

President and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute

It is almost inevitable that these House Republicans will use the debt ceiling limit to cause political crisis. For them, chaos is the point. But we have choices in response. We could abolish the debt limit altogether, since it serves no real purpose. We could close the $7 trillion “tax gap” so our government can collect the revenues wealthy Americans currently owe but don’t pay. And we could raise taxes on the ultrarich. All are good policy and good politics.

Faiz Shakir

Founder and Executive Director of More Perfect Union

Take care of our economy or preserve his own job—that’s the “choice” facing Kevin McCarthy. One of those will likely need to be sacrificed. Sad state of the House GOP, for sure.

Dean Baker

Senior Economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research

I am very concerned that the Republicans could succeed in tanking the economy and/or gutting core programs like Social Security and Medicare. The debt ceiling is their key opportunity. They can be stopped unless the Biden administration manages the crisis poorly, or the Republican Supreme Court intervenes to deliberately bring about chaos.

Sharon Parrott

President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Using the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip to try to force unpopular cuts in areas like health care, assistance for struggling families, and education is reckless. Even the threat of default jeopardizes our economy. If we default, people across the country would bear the impact: recession, millions of lost jobs, payments to seniors, veterans, businesses, and families unpaid.