Once again, we are faced with another deadline for another manufactured crisis contrived by the Obama administration. According to the Treasury secretary, the federal government will officially run out of money on August 2nd due to the country hitting its debt ceiling.
Since 1917 when Congress passed the Second Liberty Bond Act, the United States has had a self-imposed credit limit for borrowing money. Almost 100 years later, that credit limit stands at about $14.3 trillion. In the past 10 years we have raised the debt ceiling a total of — you guessed it — 10 times. Finally the taxpayers and voters of the country had had enough and voted in a Republican majority in the House of Representatives to put a stop to the insane spending binge that our federal government has been on for the past three years. What’s uncharacteristic is the fact that these politicians are actually keeping their promise and, at least so far, standing firm on their campaign vows. Enter the demagogues.
Presented with the prospect that they might actually have to spend within their means for the first time in their political lifetimes, Democrats are having conniption fits over Republican resistance to raise the debt ceiling for the umpteenth time. As per their usual playbook, they have hauled out scare tactics of government shutdowns, Social Security beneficiaries going without checks, members of the military not being paid and other typical demagogical techniques with which we are all familiar with by now.
As August 2nd looms on the horizon and the stare down continues, some Republican leaders’ knees are beginning to buckle. After all, no one wants to be accused of denying someone their Social Security check or our brave men and women defending our country overseas their well deserved pay. So what is the loyal opposition to do? Easy!
Run out the clock!
What would actually happen if our federal government, which is become all too comfortable with misspending trillions of dollars per year, had to live within its means like the rest of us? Some say the government would shut down. This is a bad thing? Just think, we could save $4.1 billion in government waste per day that our government is not functioning. Others say that we would default on our debt for the first time in the nations history. Still others spread political terror by once again exploiting the elderly by telling them that their Social Security and Medicare benefits will be held up.
Economic experts (who actually paid attention in Econ 101) tell us that there is sufficient revenue coming into the government to pay the interest on our existing debt for the rest of the year. Political terrorists bomb number one — disarmed. So what about Social Security and Medicare benefits? Not to mention pay for the military?
As a former civics teacher, I take you back to your ninth grade year. You are sitting in your civics class (if you were fortunate to have one offered to you to begin with) wishing that you were somewhere else, while your faithful teacher was teaching you about an old wrinkly document known as the Constitution! Those of you who are paying attention will remember that Congress is not in charge of spending money. It allocates it by law, but it is the executive branch that is in charge of distribution. In other words, the priority in which money is spent is up to the president of the United States. So if indeed the standoff continues past August 2nd, and this is indeed the day we had our credit limit as a country, then all eyes should fall to the president for the distribution of the available funds, of which there is enough to pay for servicing our debt, paying our military, and cutting Social Security checks. Bomb number two—disarmed.
So what should Republicans do in this situation? In the spirit of fair play, I would suggest them presenting a plan for spending cuts, tax rate reductions and teaching the federal government to live within its means. Aside from that, it’s simple:
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