On using the debt ceiling as ransom, it's hard to put it better than our newly re-elected president:
To even entertain the idea of this happening, of the United States of America not paying its bills, is irresponsible. It’s absurd. As the speaker said two years ago, it would be — and I’m quoting Speaker Boehner now — "a financial disaster not only for us but for the worldwide economy." So we got to pay our bills. And Republicans in Congress have two choices here: They can act responsibly and pay America’s bills or they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis.
But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The financial well-being of the American people is not leverage to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.
And they’d better choose quickly because time is running short. The last time Republicans in Congress even flirted with this idea, our triple-A credit rating was downgraded for the first time in our history, our businesses created the fewest jobs of any month in nearly the past three years, and ironically, the whole fiasco actually added to the deficit.
I like this new forcefulness, don't you? He's not uncompromising on new deficit reduction measures – just on refusing to pay the bills Congress has already incurred. And he's right to take the fight to them – because the GOP is the single greatest threat not just to the American economy right now but to the global one as well. There is no party in the democratic West that comes close to their extremism: the British Tories have spent the last years doing all they can to avoid a credit downgrade; ditto the French right. But these fanatics want to save this country's fiscal standing by destroying it. They must be stopped – and the president is not the one who can really do it. Only we can. Public opinion must rally like never before to expose and defang the lunatics running the GOP asylum. And fast.