With all this talk about doing things to protect the children, why don’t politicians care about the debt that today’s children are inheriting and will be responsible for when they grow up? They’ll say that deficit reduction is not a worthy goal unto itself, and that this whole “debt ceiling” thing is an “archaic quirk.” Not raising the debt ceiling is fiscally irresponsible, they say, because then how will the government pay its bills? It’s wrong not to pay one’s bills, and the only way we can pay them is if we raise the debt limit. And they claim the GOP is holding the nation’s economy hostage by not agreeing to raise the limit.
Conservatives representing over 100 conservative organizations have banded together and issued a statement called the Conservative Action Project urging the GOP not to raise the debt limit unless Obama’s team agrees to real spending cuts that will leave the U.S. with a balanced budget in 10 years with no tax increases. Their letter said, in part:
“Today is the day we stop stealing from our children. Conservatives should not raise our nation’s statutory debt limit unless Congress passes and the President signs into law real reforms and immediate spending reductions that place America on a path to balance within 10 years without raising taxes and keeping the budget in balance. Although the Administration currently has authority to prioritize interest payments when the nation hits the debt limit, Congress should also pass legislation to reaffirm that authority, thereby avoiding the administration’s reckless and false claims of default. By doing so, America’s full faith and credit will not be questioned. On August 2, 2011, President Obama fought for and won a $2.1 trillion increase in our nation’s statutory debt limit. A mere 518 days later, the Federal government hit its $16.394 trillion debt limit.–during which time, the U.S. accumulated nearly $47,000 of debt every second. Because of massive overspending, America is on an unsustainable fiscal path. Unless immediate action is taken, our future is destined to be that of Greek-style implosion or the slow managed decline of Western Europe. Neither option is acceptable.”
Personally, I don’t think there should be an “unless” clause. There is no reason to raise the debt ceiling. Government has had a spending problem for decades. They tax too much, they spend too much, they borrow too much, and when that still isn’t enough they create the money ex nihilo. The debt ceiling is the last semblance of fiscal restraint in Washington.
The Democrats’ answer to all this is not just to raise the debt limit (something that even Senator Obama opposed under the Bush administration), but to eliminate it altogether. The Hill reported:
“A group of House Democrats accused Republicans of having “weaponized” the debt ceiling Wednesday, and are pushing to abolish it. The lawmakers blasted GOP members as taking the economic wellbeing of the nation hostage to achieve political victory, and are hoping to scrap the debt limit once and for all as a danger looming over the economy.”
Representative Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who is a leading sponsor of the bill, said that “the Republicans have chosen to exploit the routine necessity of raising the debt ceiling as a means of blackmailing the American people in order to impose an extremist agenda.” I think they’re the ones that want “to impose an extremist agenda” by eliminating the debt ceiling.