Top House Republicans have been trying to avoid a government shutdown fight by telling their members to instead look at the debt limit as the place they have real leverage. In theory, because the debt limit is more important, it is a better hostage — but a party that just proved it is unwilling to pull the trigger is in no position to make demands.
If the Republicans aren’t willing to risk being blamed for a government shutdown there is no way they are going to risk being blamed for significant financial destruction.
The problems caused by a short-term government shutdown are real but manageable. It would cause serious immediate problems for people but they would be quickly fixed when the government is running again. A default, on the other hand, would be a significant world event and create big long term problems.
If a shutdown is seen as potentially too political damaging by Republicans leaders there is no way they would risk getting blamed for a default event. A default would not just hurt regular Americans but greatly disturb financial markets and stiff the big government contractors. Republicans can’t afford to have CEOs deciding that the GOP’s weird ideological obsession has become a risk to their wealth and business. CEOs prefer lower taxes but what they real care about is financial markets that don’t needlessly put their wealth at risk.