Matthews: The government must pay what it owes


Let me finish tonight with some words I have for the screaming fanatics that we hear seriously talking about the United States government refusing to pay what it owes.

Deadbeats. That’s the word we call them. Deadbeats. People who buy things and don’t pay for them, people who make bets and don’t cover them. Deadbeats.

How about this?

You’ve got people telling the American people that we don’t have to be as good as our word, don’t have to honor the pledge the U.S. government has made since I was delivering newspapers as a kid, being told and believing it that there’s nothing on earth as solid as a U.S. Savings Bond.

Now we have these people out there - who’ve taken an oath to defend this government - saying the government doesn’t have to be what we’ve been taught to look up to as - good for its word.

I’ve heard Congresswoman Bachmann out there saying we don’t have to pay what the government owes - we only have to pay the interest. Great! She’s pushing the same line that got us into this financial mess. She’s selling the national debt as some kind of “balloon loan,” that we can make low interest payments on and hope that, somehow things will turn out swimmingly, that we really don’t have to really pay what we owe, that borrowing doesn’t carry a real-life price tag, that we can wish away responsibility.

We, the American people, have a challenge, to ensure that our government doesn’t refuse to pay what it owes. We’ve got from now, July 5 to July 22, two and a half weeks, to get a bill passed in the Congress. If this doesn’t happen, we can expect the world to begin talking it up, talking up that the United States is one the verge of joining Greece, in becoming a government that has solvency problems.

We will hear the death watch. It will be from friend and enemy alike. We will hear the roar grow louder. We will see the markets start to fall, the rates of interest charged rise higher. And when this happens, America will suffer a loss of reputation that will be real, will matter and will not be erased by time.

Because once you have a reason to doubt a country’s commitment to meet its debts, the borrower, the dealer in currency, will always know that there come times when the US is not really there, is sure of its commitments because it’s happened before. It happened in 2011 when the U.S. Congress refused to do its job - when American business refused to raise the alarm - when the American people sat and watched as the phrase “as good as the U.S. government” became something not so good at all.

At that point, the only winners will be those abroad who don’t like this country and those here willing to hurt even their “own” country in order to hurt its president.



Matthews: The government must pay what it owes