The Trumpist Republican Party has shown it will toy with democracy. Now President Joe Biden is testing its willingness to play with economic fire.
The test comes in the upcoming showdown over raising the federal debt limit, a painful political chore that periodically falls to Congress when the Treasury exhausts the amount of borrowing that lawmakers had previously authorized. Performing it is necessary for government to pay its bills and avert a destabilizing financial crisis.
The White House seeks cooperation from partisan adversaries as well as allies in Congress. So far, Republicans have vowed not to provide any. It’s a credible threat.
The danger represents a relatively recent development in American history. For decades, the statutory requirement that Congress authorize additional borrowing has provided a venue for harmless…