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The Boston Globe

Opinion

JEFF JACOBY

The problem is the debt, not the debt ceiling

For weeks we’ve been told that if Congress doesn’t raise the federal debt ceiling by Thursday, the government will go into default and the world as we know it will spin out of control.

The predictions of doom have been hysterical. Bloomberg reported that a US default would be the first by a major Western government “since Nazi Germany 80 years ago.” Warren Buffett compared debt-ceiling politics to weapons of mass destruction — “like nuclear bombs, basically too horrible to use.” President Obama, saying he was quoting “CEOs and economists,” told a White House news conference that failing to raise the debt ceiling would be “insane, catastrophic, chaos.” And the Treasury Department issued a grim warning that a default could prove calamitous: “Credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet . . . and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse.”

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