Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How Did It Come To This, My View on the Debt Ceiling Debate

I swear that if we default on our debt my facebook and twitter status for a week will consist of nothing but a string of F-bombs and," What the hells." But how did we get here. Let's rewind the clock to summer 2009.

President Obama had promised that he would reform healthcare and he got on it. There was an incredible amount of resistance. Some of it for crazy reasons that made no sense.

But there was at least one reason that made an incredible amount of sense.

Less than year prior congress passed TARP, in response to what I dub, The Great Crash of '08. The regular crash of '08 was when I had to clean reinstall Windows 3 days before leaving for MSU after a blown fuse. I hated reinstalling everything.

Uh, anyway the cost of healthcare reform on top of the cost of the TARP started making people think about how much money the government spends, and the national debt.

This became one of the issues that The Tea Party championed and campaigned on, resulting in them through the Republican Party winning the majority of United States House of Representative seats in the 2010 elections.

The problem the country faces is a result of the two parties looking at the debt crisis in fundamentally different ways.

The national debt is only one of the reasons why the Tea Party wants to curtail government spending. They also believe that the size of government has ballooned over the last decade and feel that one of the most practical ways of shrinking it is to starve the beast. That way whenever someone wants to do something overly ambitious the obvious answer will be is in the budget. No, then shut up.

They also believe that high taxes have an adverse effect on the economy and that that for the economy to improve taxes must remain as low as they reasonably can. And for that to happen government spending must decrease, dramatically.

Both the Obama administration and the Republicans feel that the national debt is an important issue, but until a few months ago the Obama administration held the position that the government should try to spend its way out of the recession, and that dealing with the debt was a priority but not the priority.

That, at least to my ears was the point of the president's 2011 State of the Union Address. The government has work that needs to be done and several Americans need work to do. By spending the money necessary to hire on individuals to do the work we would kill two birds with one stone.

The Tea Party's rebuttal to that was, If not now when, for them this was a can that had been kicked down the road for over a decade, when it should be immediate issue that takes top priority in Washington.

During the budget talks earlier this year it became clear that this is not the same congress we had a year ago that mostly agreed with the president's position that we should spend our way out of the bad economy. Not only that but because a lot of that congress was elected over that one issue, even the politicians who do feel that way are afraid to be branded McSpendy in fear of losing their positions.

We are currently entering the 2012 election season. And many, including, though I hate to admit, it myself, feel that the American citizen votes on catchy slogans and commercials rather than on complex issues. To explain to the American voter why congress had to raise the debt ceiling would be incredibly difficult and risky.

This one of the reasons why the idea of a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling was abandoned. Even though most of both parties' leadership says this is something that needs to happen, neither party wants do it without looking to the American public that they asked the bank to raise the credit card limit after maxing it out. Not doing it is actually more like a chargeback, but the mudslinging ads, come next October, won't put it that way.

To put it simply they are assuming that the American public is too stupid to understand what the debt ceiling actually is, and why it needs to be raised.

The truth of the matter is that while the debt ceiling is the legal amount of debt the United States government is allowed to have, we've already committed the money. It's like you and your friends agreeing to go order a pizza. Before heading out, you all agree to split the bill. That's money that you've more or less already spent once you order. When the bill finally comes you can't say screw that. I ain't payin'.

I just wish that both parties would stop acting like that is an option. It ain't

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