In Washington today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is scheduled to have a meeting with House freshmen from the Republican party to impress upon them the urgency of raising the debt ceiling. (The government will run out of money to pay all its bills two months from now, or thereabouts.) In their preview of the event, Reuters does that thing where they acknowledge that the agendas of the two sides are so opposed that nothing is likely to come of the meeting, except, well, some feelings. And feelings matter:
If Geithner cannot arrive at that meeting with details on the full list of potential spending cuts, he still could make headway with this feisty group of House Republican newcomers. "Having the Treasury secretary personally (attend), take their questions seriously and explain the consequences (of not raising the debt limit) ... could change some minds," said Andy Laperriere, a policy analyst for International Strategy and Investment who follows Washington for investors. "It's showing a measure of respect for this group that will pay dividends," he said.
Okay, showing respect. That ... sometimes works in Washington. What about from the other side?
It also will be an opportunity for the freshmen to explain to Geithner "vividly why it is so difficult to vote for this (debt limit increase) back home," Laperriere added.
Okay, so, basically, Tim Geithner is going to pretend that he's taking the concerns of this outspoken group of tea party-backed newbies seriously, and these representatives are going to talk about how they seriously won't get reelected if they cave to what he wants. Meanwhile, elsewhere, Joe Biden and the six bi-partisan lawmakers who are actually negotiating spending cuts will be discussing what's really going to happen.
Glad we're having this little talk.