Alan S. Blinder's "The GOP's Flirtation With Disaster" (op-ed, Oct. 11) states: "If the Treasury loses the ability to borrow more, the budget must be balanced immediately, meaning that federal spending must fall." He believes this will lead to a disaster, but seems to be oblivious to or unwilling to offer solutions to the worse disaster that continued deficit spend will bring to America. Government spending is at a rate of $3.5 trillion annually while revenue is at an all-time high of $2.7 trillion. President Obama's Simpson-Bowles commission laid out a plan three years ago to head off the debt disaster we still face. Having ignored his own commission, Mr. Obama still has no plan to balance revenue and spending. Mr. Blinder seems not to realize that the current administration just keeps extending the debt and tries to keep the public in the dark on how near to disaster we really are. The Republican brinkmanship is simply a means to finally get the media to write about our runaway debt and focus the public on the fact that Washington has no credible plan to avoid the disaster. Increasing the debt limit doesn't solve the problem and the global financial system already knows that.

Ron Dudley

Sanibel, Fla.

Mr. Blinder fears that Republicans playing with default do long-term economic damage as a result of the "cost of making the United States of America look clownish in the eyes of the world." Before we lose too much sleep over our global image of political dysfunction, one question for Mr. Blinder: Would Europe in general, and Greece in particular, be in better or worse shape today if fiscal conservatives there had acted like clowns and confronted welfare-state spenders a decade ago? One could reasonably argue that a flirtation with disaster before Greece's economic meltdown might have headed off the fiscal wreck that it is today.

With regard to the lasting effects of Washington looking "like a bunch of knaves and fools," it is worth noting that President Obama refused to accept any GOP initiatives to keep funding various federal programs. Mr. Blinder will argue that Republicans poisoned the well with political acrimony, so our post-partisan president had no choice but to refuse to negotiate budget or debt-ceiling deals. Actually, in an Oct. 8 news conference, President Obama candidly admitted that his cold-shoulder to Republicans is all about partisan political pressure: "And if there's no political heat, if there's no television story on it, then nothing happens." That is why national monuments were closed.

Republicans attempting to slow federal spending may or may not be clowns. But Washington clearly has been transformed into a circus when the economic future of the country hinges on how loud we all clap or boo.

Richard Perkins

Ocala, Fla.