First and foremost the debt ceiling has to be raised ONLY if spending continues into the future at its current pace. The President contends that “Congress made me do it”, the political version of “the Devil made me do It”. That statement is true but out of context. The single most significant spending bill in recent history was ObamaCare and the President did sign it, as he has signed off on the wide variety of increases in spending during his term, including discretionary spending delegated to Federal Agencies under his supervision. It remains a source of constant amazement that the President is never responsible for anything that bears valid criticism. Journalists spent years worth of interviews trying to get George Bush to verbally admit to failings, where are they now?
Secondly, federal debt payments equal about 14% of Federal Cash outlays on a monthly basis. Were spending to be reduced, long term increases in the debt ceiling would not be necessary.
Third, the only reason for the current debt ceiling proposal from Senator Reid, is to support another three years of trillion dollar a year deficits taking us north of $19 trillion in debt by the next election season. Common sense tells us that we’re already bellied up to the fiscal red line, the question is simple. When does it crash? At what point does too much debt throw the economy into a new spiral of crisis.
Fourth, increases in the debt ceiling essentially become permanent until changed by new legislation.
Fifth, Progressive economists will, if the truth be told, opine that inflation is the best way to address excessive debt on a macroeconomic level. The money used to pay the debt in the future is not as valuable as the money originally borrowed. If you pay off debt at 3% with dollars that have inflated by 5% you’re ahead of the game. The microeconomic impact however is inflation. If you’re old enough to remember inflation under President Carter you will recall the pain and suffering that inflation wrought. Inflation simply means that the cost of goods and services increase as a representation of a weak, devalued dollar. In the context of high unemployment wages remain static or fall as prices go up. Economic contraction ensues until some combination of high interest rates, unavailability of capital, and increasing unemployment wring out the inflation. Wringing out inflation is a painful process demanding high interest rates and high unemployment.
Sixth, the CBO has recommended trillions in spending reductions that do not eliminate any government agency or program; trim by removing repetitive programs and waste but not eliminate. This report has gone, essentially, ignored. It is the closest thing to a plan for relatively painless cuts we’ve seen. It’s the proof that a mature serious approach to spending reductions is not only possible but the roadmap exists. Were these recommendations put in place necessary increases in the debt ceiling could be minimal.
Seventh, Senators, Reid, Schumer and Durbin have urged the President to take extra constitutional action to raise the debt ceiling by executive fiat. These are the same men who raised their right hand and swore to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. That is the ultimate ‘tell’ when evaluating the agenda on the left; a continual effort to create constitutionally emasculating precedent.
Finally you have to ask yourself. If nearly everyone knows excessive debt is bad, that you can’t tax your way out of it, that spending is at historic levels as a percentage of GDP and that enormous political corruption is inherent in much of that spending; what’s the problem? Why can’t common sense spending reductions be passed? Why do Democrats in general and some Republicans fight so hard to maintain current spending levels? Why has the Senate refused to pass a budget that identifies priorities? What is there to hide?
The answers to those questions are wide and varied. The bottom line is, however, always the same; the absence of true leadership and a dearth of courage. Someone always pays the price for the absence of courage you can find the payee in the nearest mirror. Or, you could go with the President’s approach; “The Devil made me do it!”