Sunday, January 13, 2013

No More Raising the Debt Ceiling

It is neither credible nor respectable that this President wants more borrowing authority.

If a family of four had three hundred thousand dollars worth of debt yet took in only forty thousand dollars of revenue, yet appealed to their credit card company for a line of credit twice as large as their monthly income, the credit card company would 1) laugh 2) cut their line of credit 3) report their delinquent debts to the nearest collections agency.

The United States federal government finds itself in a similar situation, except that all the deficits and national debt have many more zeroes added to the final tallies, and instead of collections agencies, overseas creditors are signaling how jittery they feel about the United States eroding capacity to manage their debt without deepening the current financial crisis.

The debt ceiling is not a dangerous and fanciful constraint, as Keynesian economist Paul Krugman suggested on "This Week", but a necessary break on the President and Congress' spending addiction which has passed without any serious consideration or opposition in the last thirty years.

The very idea that President Obama would embrace raising the debt ceiling for more money should elicit another loud peal of laughter from Republican leaders. While media elites outline "Obstructionist Republicans" as the sole source of conflict and consternation in Washington D.C., the President is exploding the greatest national security threat facing this country: the massive national debt.

Without hesitation, resisting the fears of the GOP Establishment and without dismissing the liberal calls for more spending, the Republicans in the House and the Senate should continue apace, piecing out comprehensive budget reforms which cut spending and reform entitlements. If they want to goad their Democratic colleagues, they can introduce a slight tax increase in their package of spending and conserving legislation, too. If President Obama refuses to endorse a House plan for fiscal responsibility, even one with a tax increase sprinkled about here and there, then he will admit without saying that he is not serious about cutting spending or prolonging the firm founding and fiscal future of the United Sates.

President Obama got tax increases on higher income earners, something which Norquist-styled Republicans acquiesced on briefly. Taxes are indeed off the table, now. As Delaware Senator Tom Carper commented, President Obama let a good crisis go to waste. Now the upper hand remains with Republicans, who face three more deadlines in the next two months, not just the debt ceiling, but funding the government and meting out the massive and delayed sequester.

The Republicans have no reason to cave any further. It would be irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling at all, just as any legitimate credit card company would turn away an indebted client who refuses to cut spending or manage his household budget, yet insists on more credit.

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