The Republican led congress introduced a Bill on Monday that would in essence suspend, temporarily, the Debt Ceiling – a constitutional safeguard put in place to limit the amount of money our government can spend, very similar to a credit card limit. The measure is expected to come to a vote on Wednesday and the White House has said that if the Bill lives, and it’s expected to, that Obama won’t veto the measure, releasing the following statement this afternoon:
“The Administration would not oppose a short-term solution to the debt limit and looks forward to continuing to work with both the House and the Senate to increase certainty and stability for the economy.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney attempted to drive another nail into what is starting to look like a Debt Ceiling casket, saying that it was terrible for the economy and was bad politics:
“We can continue to engage — and we will — with members of Congress, over the need to further reduce our deficit in a balanced way. The president has put forward plans, as you know, that demonstrate the fact that he is willing to compromise, that he is willing to meet Republicans halfway on these issues, and he will continue to do that. But the debt ceiling needs to not be a part of that, because it’s terrible for the economy, and it seems also to be bad politics.”
Left wing lawmakers including Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and liberal economists agree with Carney’s last sentence and many are now pushing for abolishing the Debt Ceiling altogether. “Congress has gone from grandstanding on the debt ceiling to actual use of it as an economic weapon of mass destruction,” Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said. “It’s extremely dangerous.”
This Bill seems to represent a trial period for the above notion and may indicate that the Republican led congress is in fact buckling beneath the “mandated” pressure of the White House and in fact may eventually succumb to the idea of just axing the Constitutional requirement altogether.
H.R. 325 also contains a “no budget no pay” provision which states that if the House and Senate haven’t BOTH passed budgets by April 15th that their salaries would be “withheld” and deposited into escrow until such a time as they DO pass budgets. Republicans have complained that the Democratic-led Senate has not passed a budget in nearly four years.
Michael Froomkin of Discourse.net suggests, and quite convincingly, that the possibility exists that the “no budget no pay” provision could in fact be a “poison pill” because of the wording of the 27th Amendment in regards to lawmakers salaries and if discovered and brought into the light of a court room, would most likely result in a premature and instant death for the entire measure midway between now and May 19th when the “gig” would be up, once again – a scenario which could expose the government with it’s financial britches down around it’s ankles at a very inopportune time.
To envision what all this means in simpler terms, imagine your household was the federal government and the debt ceiling is the spending limit on your only credit card, which you use for everything. Now imagine that every month when you max the card out you call Visa, at which point they grant you a few more bucks til payday. What this bill does would represent Visa’s REWARDING you for being a complete credit risk by lifting your credit limit for three months, adding a “we’re watching you closely” note at the end just to save face with THEIR creditors.
The problem is, if this WERE your household the above scenario wouldn’t end with you getting extension after extension resulting in a freebie, three month, no holes barred shop til you puke pass from Visa. It would result in you sleeping on a park bench someplace because you didn’t take care of your obligations.
The people we send to Washington to spend our money don’t live in REALITY. Reality to them is proposing a 1 trillion dollar package – passing a 750 billion dollar “reduction” plan and then bragging about saving us 250 billion dollars! It’s ridiculous. The Republican congress’ insistence to reduce spending and hold down the debt ceiling is NOT what’s caused the U.S. credit rating to be downgraded. The SPENDING which continues pushing against that ceiling is. For Democrats to suggest it’s the actual law which regulates spending that’s responsible for our financial woe’s and credit smack downs is similar to suggesting that speed limits are the reason for so many speeding tickets when in reality it’s irresponsible drivers who are to blame.
There are limits to everything in this world – and as I’ve written prior in regards to checks and balances, if we allow these goons a free pass, they’re gonna run with it.
Look for anti-Debt Ceiling rhetoric such as Carney’s to continue to mount in the next 3 months as we approach the new May 19th deadline. Expect Barack Obama’s silver lined political cloud to grow by leaps and bounds during that time, and finally – don’t be shocked when, in the face of all that heat, congressional Republicans get on board in large enough numbers to effectively strip the Debt Ceiling verbiage from the Constitution – patching it over with one final “IOU infinity”.
I found a pretty cool video for any of my readers who could use a Debt Ceiling 101 refresher: