Bruce Bartlett for Economix at The New York Times:
The Obama administration and those on Wall Street have long thought that such a prospect was so horrifying that it would necessarily lead to resolution of the current budget impasse. What I don’t think they understand is that there has been a movement under way for some years among right-wing economists and activists not merely to default on the debt, but even to repudiate it.
Reasonable people can disagree. People who value logic have trouble understanding those who are driven more by emotion. But most people — those who aren’t under the influence of psychosis-inducing drugs or religious fervor — fail to grasp the full implications of dealing with fanatics.
Fanatics will do anything to get their way. They don’t care who they hurt, they only care about their ideology. The so-called “fringe groups”, like the Tea Party, appear to be solidly in charge of the Republican party at this point; the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
You can’t reason with them, because they aren’t the kind of people who listen to reason. They place their values and ideology above anything else, and are least likely to change under outside pressure. America is likely stuck with a permanent minority of 30–40% these fanatics in government, because there is a solid 30–40% of the US population that keeps electing them. Why? They share the same beliefs.
Beliefs are not amenable to change even when confronted with incontrovertible facts. If these people were able to drag the entire world into economic ruin and open warfare, they’d claim that it was inevitable due to the “mistaken” beliefs of everyone else.
These are the same people who can argue both sides so that they win either way. People who died in the Twin Tower attacks were taken early by God because He loved them so much, and people who lived through the attacks were miraculously preserved from harm because God loved them so much.