ShareThis Page

Fear not Oct. 17

| Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Stuart Varney is a Fox Business Network anchor and host of “Varney & Co.,” which airs weekdays from 9:20 a.m.-11 a.m. Varney spoke to the Trib about the approaching deadline to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

Q: In your opinion, is the debt ceiling crisis really as potentially catastrophic as it's been made out to be?

A: Potentially yes, but that's way down the road.

If we go past the (Oct. 17) debt ceiling deadline and there is no deal, then we are starting into some very serious territory because at some point we do default on our debt, we don't pay back our principal and interest.

But frankly it's inconceivable that we would go that far. But we will have serious upset in the markets before then if we don't get a deal.

Q: Could you explain why there's no immediate danger of default if we go past the deadline?

A: Yes. If we go past the deadline, we lose the authority to borrow any more money. However, we have a ton of money coming into the Treasury from tax receipts.

It's estimated that in October alone, tax receipts will come in at about $220 billion. Now, you can use that incoming money to pay interest on the debt, to pay Social Security checks, military pay, Medicare bills.

You can do all of that and you don't actually come to the default point for a long time — well into November. That's why I say there is absolutely no threat of default at midnight in Oct. 17, as some in our leadership have implied.

Q: So you believe the deadline is being overhyped?

A: Yes. In my opinion, the president and Sen. (Harry) Reid are using this deadline to inspire some fear in the marketplace and to put pressure, political pressure, on their opponents.

If you say this is a catastrophe in the making and it's your fault, you are putting pressure on your political opponents. And I think that is what is going on now in America.

I don't approve of that, because the president is the chief executive officer of the United States of America. It is his job to organize government, to organize government's response to financial crises. To say “I will not negotiate” — I think that's just not doing your job.

Q: Do you think the president and Sen. Reid are deliberately attempting to incite volatility in the marketplace by claiming the effects will be catastrophic if the deadline passes?

A: That would be my position. It's not a game that we should be playing and I think everyone understands that.

But it's a game we are playing right now and I don't think we look terribly good in the eyes of the world.

Q: Do you mean not looking good in terms of the government constantly playing this game of chicken?

A: I mean this constant running up to deadlines, haggling publicly, taking diametrically opposing sides, no negotiations, one crisis after another where we seem to be totally disorganized and dysfunctional — that makes us look bad.

Q: Is there any silver lining in this situation?

A: The key issues are being discussed. OK, we don't have a solution, but we are discussing the issues.

And I think America (eventually) will emerge with solutions to the problems of debt, taxation and spending.

Q: When do you think that might occur?

A: It's a long way off, a long way off.

Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media (412-320-7857 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me