Friday, July 8, 2011

Debt Ceiling

I know many of my readers aren't as in love with news and global affairs as I am.  And I should clarify, news like the Casey Anthony trial doesn't capture my attention, at all.  News like the US debt ceiling does.  And though I'm sure the Anthony trial was entertaining and theatrical to say the least, the debt ceiling is what we all should actually be tuned in to. Why? Well, Casey Anthony goes free and my life continues as usual.  The debt ceiling gets blocked and the whole world of economics shatters.  So naturally I ignore the pop culture phenomenon and follow the story that is actually important to the way I live my daily life. The story that as a US citizen, I'm a part of.

So to catch everyone up to speed, our current debt limit, as set by congress, is $14 trillion. Ugh. That's Ugly. Who would even question raising it? That's ridiculous. And yes, on the surface, that is ridiculous.

The reality however, is more complex than the surface. The reality is if we don't raise the debt ceiling we will have no way to pay soldiers, and no way pay health care bills for impoverished children and elderly citizens on medicaid and medicare, and perhaps most importantly we will struggle to pay back loans we've taken from foreign countries like China, the UK, Brazil, etc.

Naturally, the battle in Washington continues. I'm sure you can guess who is on what side. The  Republican led congress currently refuses to raise the debt ceiling if tax revenues are increased.  Democrats have offered to give up $4 trillion in spending, but only if the Republicans let them end tax loopholes and tax breaks on wealthy Americans and American corporations -- a move that would increase tax revenue by roughly $1 trillion.

Quick recap: Dems are willing to give 4 dollars so long as Reps will give 1.  Seems like a good bargain for Republicans, right?

So why are the refusing to take it?

Politics.

Republicans want to make the current Administration (Obama and the Democrats) look irresponsible and incapable of leading America out of the debt crisis. They want to make it look like Obama is a big spender who doesn't care about the debt ceiling. On the surface, the strategy seems to work. Casual onlookers fall for the lies and deceptions. The Republicans' problem (as I see it) is that all the reliable, conservative leaning sources I've studied understand the big picture well enough to blame this current fiscal recklessness with Republicans.  

Here are a few facts I've found that go ignored by congress while they use this debate to create a world sense of financial insecurity (stocks have increased drastically and will continue to do so until there is a compromise; unemployment has also gone up this summer, when congress plays these sort of political games they make investors uncertain of their future).

Fact number 1: Under the Bush administration, with a Republican led congress, the national debt ceiling was raised 7 times.  SEVEN times.  That's basically once per year.  It was an increase of over 100 percent.  He more than doubled the debt.  Ragaen's tenure looks very similar.  Seven increases, more than doubled the debt, the only difference is he had a split congress.  Obama on the other hand has only raised the limit once, and that was during his first few months in office when he signed off on bailouts that originated under Bush's exit.  With the plan he proposes the debt limit will never have to be raised again.  He, as Clinton did, puts us back on track.

I guess that is really the only fact I want to share.  The others are things I have mentioned already.  Like, fact number 2: if we default we will loose clout as a global super power, and our world standing will never recover.  Basically, we'd look like Greece, and when was the last time the Greeks were a super power?  Ask yourself, how much respect does Greece seem to have right now?

Fact number 3: soldiers and hard working citizens will be the ones who suffer, the ones who have to shoulder the burden.  Not politicians, not Wall Street.  Us, we will suffer; our recession will worsen.

That last fact is why I spend Reid's nap time pouring over the Politico, the Economist, the NYTimes, NPR and the numerous resources they send me to.  I could care less about Casey Anthony.  Maybe she is a murderer, maybe she isn't.  I'm not going to throw a stone at her; I'll let God sort that one out.  As for our political crisis, that's something we're leaving up to our elected officials to sort out. Crap.

1 comment:

Scott and Claudia said...

Loved your editorial. Of course I agree 100%. Unfortunately the GOP appears hellbent in destroying not only our reputation in the world, but our national wellbeing and livelihood as well. It will be interesting to watch the future unfold. Hopefully intelligence will prevail and we can get the bums out of congress as soon as possible. The elections of 2010 will have far reaching detrimental effects when history is told.
Pa

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