If you thought that political gridlock would end with the presidential election, think again.
The next couple of years "seem likely to be one long Republican tantrum," Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, wrote on his New York Times blog on Sunday. "This is going to be nightmarish."
Krugman referred specifically to House Speaker John Boehner's remarks to Fox News Sunday that "Congress is never going to give up this power" of forcing budget cuts every time the government needs to raise the debt ceiling.
"I've made it clear to the president, that every time we get to the debt limit, we need to cut some reforms that are greater than the increase in the debt limit," Boehner said.
The government faces a perfect storm of sorts. The Obama administration and Congress are negotiating a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, a set of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled for Jan. 1. Congressional Republicans plan to use the debt ceiling, which the government is scheduled to hit around February, as leverage to get what they want: spending cuts and an extension of all of the Bush tax cuts.
Obama's opening offer to Republicans would effectively eliminate the requirement for Congress to raise the debt ceiling.
The debt ceiling fight last summer damaged the economy. Job growth stalled, and the unemployment rate rose. The government had to borrow at higher interest rates, costing taxpayers $18.9 billion over 10 years.