Getting to yes!

Why is it so difficult to reach an agreement on something that everyone agrees to (well, aside from a few dozen Tea Party malcontents)?

It should not be that hard to realize the consequences of a U.S. default. It is not like this is new. There are clear disastrous ramifications if Congress deadlocks.

Let me start with a letter from the president of the United States to the majority leader of the U.S. Senate:

"This country now possesses the strongest credit in the world. The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect  of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and   awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the united States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and on the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The nation can ill afford to allow such a result. The risks, the costs, the disruptions and the incalculable damage lead me to but one conclusion: The Senate must pass this legislation before the Congress adjourns."

This letter is dated Nov. 16, 1983, and is from former President Reagan to then-Sen. Howard Baker (R-Tenn.). He also says in this letter that “the Treasury Department cannot guarantee that the federal government will have sufficient cash on any one day to meet all of the mandated expenses and thus the United States could be forced to default on its obligations for the first time in its history.”

Now, the real question is: Why are we even in this position? Simple answer: The Republicans, especially the Tea Party, seem to enjoy the possibility that the economic system would disintegrate. In fact, it took a one-day stock market drop of over 800 points in the fall of 2008 to bring the House of Representatives back to its senses and pass the just-rejected TARP program.

But, right now, it is time to get to yes, time to get their heads out of the sand and stop denying the cataclysmic results that Ronald Reagan wrote about.

Let’s be clear that the nonsense that is occurring in Washington is because the Republicans lack the common sense of Ronald Reagan, not because they profess to hold to his principles. Let’s also be clear that if we had a GOP leader Bob Michel (Ill.) or a Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) we would not be about to take this economic engine over a cliff.

More in Economy & Budget

Dynamic scoring and the power of numbers

Read more »