We Won't Default: Reading Between Obama's Rhetorical Lines

Jan 13, 2013

This morning during his press conference, President Obama engaged in fear mongering about what will happen if he doesn't get his way on the debt ceiling. As he lectured us about how important it is to pay our bills, he trotted out the same scare tactics:

If congressional republicans refuse to pay America's bills on time, Social Security checks and veteran's benefits will be delayed. We might not be able to pay our troops or honor or contracts for small business owners. Food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialist who track down loose nuclear materials wouldn't get their paychecks.

What is most important, though, is what he didn't say: he never explicitly said that the government would be unable to pay interest on the debt. Implicitly, he acknowledged what everyone already knew but many refused to report: the government will not default on its debt obligations.

Rather than broaching the real issue, the president chose fear over hope. Heritage's J.D. Foster explains why trying to strike fear in the hearts of Americans is disingenuous:

The President also emphasized what he believes is his trump card in this debate - the word "default." He's absolutely right that the Congress should not and ultimately will not risk the credit standing of the United States government. But this assurance rests not on congressional action to raise the debt ceiling, but on the simple fact that the Treasury has far more than enough funds to pay all interest as it comes due.

Suggesting that the United States might default on its debt is factually wrong and shameful behavior on the President's part.