What ‘The Big Lebowski’ tells us about the debt ceiling
By Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan, Published: September 19th at 6:30 am
The first is 43 – the percentage of Americans who want Congress to “not raise the debt limit and let the government default on paying its bills and obligations.”
The second is 73 — the percentage of people who believe defaulting on bills and obligations would do “serious harm” to the U.S. economy.
Makes no sense right? How could more than 40 percent of Americans support an action that a vast majority of the country believes would do us serious economic harm?
The answer lies with Bunny Lebowski, a character from the genius Coen brothers film “The Big Lebowski.” Speaking of a man named Uli swimming in a pool, Bunny says: “Uli doesn’t care about anything. He’s a nihilist.”
The reality — at least from the Post-ABC poll — is that there is a nihilistic streak running through a portion of the American populace. Crunch the numbers and you find that almost six in 10 people (59 percent) who say they don’t want to raise the debt limit also believe not doing so will cause serious problems for the American economy. The “nihilists,” so to speak, account for 26 percent of all Americans, and half of them lean toward the Republican Party.
The thinking of that group likely goes something like this: Not raising the debt ceiling is a bad thing for the economy. But, the only way to fix the debt and spending problems the United States faces is to force just such a large-scale crisis in hopes that it shocks the American political system into changing its ways. (We could draw a comparison here to how the League of Shadows believes the only way to remake Gotham is to destroy it first, but that would be WAY too nerdy. Right? Right?)