The below Bloomberg TV interview with Paul O'Neill pretty much jumps the shark in Mutual Assured Destruction. Whenever someone says "people who are threatening not to pass the debt ceiling are our version of Al-Qaeda terrorists. Really. They're really putting our whole society at risk" it is obvious that the issue is beyond rational and has crept up into the demented extreme of demagogy. This one statement may have just doomed the whole debt hiking debate as nobody will cede to being perceived as not only a terrorist but, what is far worse, a weak terrorist by the general population.
From the interview:
On Treasury Secretary Geithner's engagement in the process surrounding the debt ceiling vote:
"I think the Treasury Secretary needs to be judged in his own context. I believe that administrations for the last 30 years have made a mistake, in this sense. There is now a set of practices that are employed that are effectively accounting engineering, to extend reaching the debt ceiling…How do we get from May to July by doing financial accounting tricks? I think it helps the Congress to avoid being responsible. I think that's a really bad idea."
"I wish Tim Geithner would say, when we reach the debt ceiling, we reach the debt ceiling, we are not going to do tricks down here…The Congress needs to be responsible and adult and take action on the deficit. The people who are threatening not to pass the debt ceiling are our version of Al-Qaeda terrorists. Really. They're really putting our whole society at risk by threatening to round up 50 percent of the members of the Congress, who are looney, who would put our credit at risk."
On Boehner wrapping in a conversation over the debt ceiling in the budget debate:
"I do [think Boehner is dangerous.]Because there's a chance, if you look at some of the things that people say, well, we still have enough money to pay the interest on our debt, that is beside the point. This is permitting us to pay the bills that we have already incurred."
"I do believe we have been broken political system that is capable of doing irresponsible things. This whole conversation is irresponsible."