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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Well, duh. "Maybe the debt ceiling was the wrong place to pick a fight."

by John MacBeath Watkins

From the Huffington Post:

"Maybe the debt ceiling was the wrong place to pick a fight, as it related to trying to get our country's house in order," Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Thursday. "Maybe that was the wrong place to do it."
When Congress passes a budget, the government is legally obligated to spend the money. Trouble is, Congress has decided it wants a second shot at the budget, requiring the debt ceiling be approved by it.

Here's a thought: If you want to cut spending, do it when you pass the budget. And if you fiddle with spending between passing budgets, pay attention to the debt you're piling on.

In December, President Obama wanted to extend unemployment benefits because we're in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and there are about five job seekers for every available job. Republicans in Congress let him know they'd only approve of that if they could extend the Bush tax cuts for a couple more years.

Having determined that they would let Obama spend more if they could tax less, they are now claiming that the national debt is out of control. Know why? It's all in those spending bills you passed, friends.

I'm becoming increasingly convinced that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky) is onto something with his plan to let Obama raise the debt ceiling as long as congress can make symbolic votes against it. The debt limit has been used by both parties for political symbolism, but the problem is that a vote to not raise it is a vote to default on what we owe the nation's creditors. Should this ever actually happen, the consequences for America and the world would be an economic catastrophe, but the current crisis shows that at some point, politicians will paint themselves into a corner they don't feel they can get out of.

McConnell, a man who, in the past, I've admired for his resemblance to an angry rabbit, understands this as well as anyone, but he's willing to think right through to the obvious conclusion -- Congress needs a way to act out its symbolism without crashing the country. He proposes to let the president propose a raise in the debt ceiling, and say what cuts he'd make to avoid having to raise it, then if Congress votes against raising it, they have to come up with a super majority to keep it from going is high as the president has requested. A slim majority, of the sort either party is likely to have in the foreseeable future, couldn't come up with a super majority, so the county gets to pay its bills and the congressmen get their symbolic vote against the debt.

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