They outwardly pretend this is a fight for frugality. Nonsense, and some of them, such as House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, know better.

They, and other veteran House and Senate Republicans, understand that raising the debt limit is no favor to President Obama, for whom they wish nothing but ill. GOP members who think know that increasing the debt limit is a time-honored, largely ministerial, congressional action that allows the country to meet already legally incurred obligations to holders of U.S. debt (both foreign and domestic), Social Security recipients and all other creditors and instrumentalities relying on the full faith and credit of the United States. Those obligations have already been authorized by Congress.

Unfortunately, there are literally dozens of congressional Republicans, especially among the new crop of Tea Party-influenced members, who don’t know or don’t believe, or worse still, don’t care that the United States will default for the first time in history if the debt ceiling is not raised by Aug. 2.

Then there are the malicious among them who are ignorant or disbelieving of the consequences, but hell-bent on putting Obama in a place where he will be blamed for anything that goes wrong. They simply don’t care about the facts.

Which brings to mind the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” America is about to pay, and pay dearly, for this toxic combination of stupidity and meanness.