To hear Leftists talk, the world is coming to an end. Granted, this is their default position on anything they don’t understand, but this week it’s been an impending government shutdown, and the only solution is to raise the debt ceiling so Congress can spend more money. After all, if we can’t pay our bills, past, present, and future, we’ll go into default and everything will go to Hell! People dying in the streets! Climate change causing floods and famine! Nickelback going on tour!
What is the debt ceiling? It’s not part of a government building, but it is something we need to deal with before it swallows us whole without so much as a courtesy chew.
What the Left thinks it means – a necessary increase so the country can continue to spend money and provide services
What it really means – a way to enable bad fiscal policy
To put it mildly, the federal government has the spending problems of a shopaholic with an Amex Black card. It continues to spend and spend without consequence, save for the rare occasion when an incumbent gets toppled by an opponent. And, just like the aforementioned shopaholic, we’re buying some really stupid shit. Just look at the proposed $3.5 trillion President Joe Biden wants to spend on stuff like tree equity, making nursing homes more inclusive to LBGTQ folks, and reinventing an environmental service program that failed under FDR because the Socialist Socialite wants it.
If only the government were addicted to shoes instead of boondoggles…
Raising the debt ceiling is extending a line of credit to the federal shopaholic knowing we’ll never pay it back, but will ask to get more down the road. And those who helped us get the national debt higher than Willie Nelson in Colorado on 4/20 are the ones who get to decide whether we get that line of credit. A great gig if you can get it, but not a good way to run a country.
If only we had some guide to help our elected officials commit to spending money on specific things. You know…like a budget? Well, bad news, kids. Congress hasn’t done an actual budget since…2006. That leads to the question of how we kept our doors open without a budget. Thanks to a little thing called a continuing resolution, Congress is able to spend and spend without worrying about being tied down to specific numbers and purposes. Even when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, we kept funding things under a continuing resolution and asking for raising the debt ceiling when we got close to running out of money. Unfortunately, efforts to create a Congressional budget have failed to date, thus making it easier for politicians to spend without end on whatever caught their attention.
Here’s where things get tricky. At some point, we will run out of money, even with the vast resources the government can draw upon if they want to liquidate them. (Spoiler Alert: they don’t want to liquidate anything.) When we reach that point, raising the debt ceiling will be futile because we won’t have the money to have it raised. And unless we want to be the stereotypical brother-in-law who sleeps on our couch and never looks for a way to pay his share of the household costs, we have to do something major to affect change. Besides, I don’t think any of us has a couch big enough for the country to crash on while they look for jobs and Internet porn.
First off, we need fiscally responsible Republicans to come up with a budget when they get control of Congress again. Then, we need to stick to that budget without calling for raising the debt ceiling, even for things they want us to believe are vital interests. Our primary interest from an economic standpoint is getting our fiscal house in order sooner rather than never.
In fact, let me go a step further here. I think we should make raising the debt ceiling illegal, period. Imagine what that could do to a Congresscritter if he or she has to watch what they propose and keep an eye on how much it’s going to cost. You know, just like the rest of us have to do with our own budgets?
At the very least, we need to stage an intervention. Get the federal government into a room and have taxpayers tell them how it’s hurting us and it needs to get help for its spending addiction. And if we can turn it into a reality show, we might be able to recoup some of the debt on merchandising alone!