HOUSTON — Predictions of gloom and doom gripping the economy if the federal debt ceiling is not extended are overblown, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday, even as stocks plunged on fears that gridlocked congressional leaders would allow the U.S. to default on its debts.
"They're not going to shut down the collection of fees and taxes, I'm thinking," Perry said, responding to a question after a ceremonial bill signing. "There is still going to be revenues flowing in. I think this threat that somehow or another the world's going to come to an end and the threat of we're not going to be able to pay our bills is a bit of a stretch."
Political gridlock has so far halted legislation to stave off Tuesday's deadline to raise the nation's debt ceiling. Investors anxious about the stalemate swept across Wall Street on Wednesday and drove the Dow Jones industrial average down almost 200 points.
On Wednesday Perry called the gridlock political theater; a day earlier he called President Barack Obama's speech addressing the situation condescending.
The Texas governor is moving closer to jumping in the race for the White House.
While he said he supports the so-called cut, cap and balance approach, Perry did not say if he supported the plan proposed by House Speaker John Boehner.
"I'm frustrated along with the rest of Americans, but the fact of the matter is ... we've spent too much money, we've gotten our house in bad shape and we need to stop spending."