The debt ceiling, locally

Gee, that Jim Messina from the Barack Obama recoronation campaign – always telling me what to do. Now he wants me to call Andy Harris:

The President spoke last night about the need for Congress to come together to meet our financial obligations by raising the so-called “debt ceiling” — that is, to make sure our country can pay the bills Congress has already racked up.

You’d think this would be fairly straightforward. For many years, regardless of party affiliation, presidents have asked Congress to do this when it’s been necessary — and every time, Congress has acted. Just as an example, Congress granted Ronald Reagan’s request to raise the debt ceiling 18 different times.

Here’s what’s happening: President Obama proposed the balanced approach of raising the debt ceiling paired with responsible steps to reduce our country’s long-term debt — asking oil companies, corporations, and the richest Americans to do their part rather than placing the entire burden on seniors and the middle class.

A deal has been close at times, but an ideological faction of House Republicans has been effectively holding our economy hostage — making extreme demands like ending Medicare as we know it, gutting Social Security, and rejecting any compromises that might make millionaires or big corporations pay their fair share to get our debt under control.

So last night, President Obama spoke to the nation and made a suggestion to everyone watching: Call Congress and ask them to do their job. Since then, there have been reports that the flood of calls and emails has been slowing down the phone systems and websites on Capitol Hill. But keep trying until you get through — they need to hear from you.

Well, I don’t have to call Andy to find out what he thinks – he already let me know, in no uncertain terms:

“By an overwhelming amount, Maryland families and businesses have contacted me to demand that the federal government get its fiscal house in order, stop spending more than it takes in, and balance the budget,” said Rep. Andy Harris. ” I disagree with the President – we need a balanced budget amendment, and I won’t vote to raise the debt ceiling unless a balanced budget amendment is part of the deal.  To create jobs in America again, we must stop the spending spree in Washington.”

Let’s return to Messina’s statement, which presumably is President Obama’s viewpoint.

First of all, he blames the legislative branch for “bills Congress has already racked up.” One problem with saying that is that we haven’t had a budget passed in 2 1/2 years because the Democrats decided not to do their duty when they ran the show in Congress. Yet Democrats passed budget-busting bills like the so-called stimulus and Obamacare. If the Pelosi/Reid Congress had simply maintained spending at the already generous 2007 levels they proposed, we wouldn’t be having this argument. Keep that in mind as I continue.

Of course, Obama has to bring Ronald Reagan into this by referring to raising the debt limit 18 times. Well, there he goes again. Remember who ran Congress and created the budget during those years? Yep, Democrats who were only too happy to vote for tax cuts but balked at cutting their precious social programs. I still remember how Reagan’s budget proposals were classified as “D.O.A.” every year.

More importantly, look at the phrase “asking oil companies, corporations, and the richest Americans to do their part.” There’s not going to be any “asking” about it if Obama gets his way – he’s just going to gouge their bottom line some more through higher taxation. I’ll bet he’ll be wondering why unemployment continues to go up. Sorry, that class envy card isn’t accepted here – not when the top 1% of wage-earners already pay more in tax than the bottom 95 percent.

So you can scratch the part about “extreme demands like ending Medicare as we know it, gutting Social Security, and rejecting any compromises that might make millionaires or big corporations pay their fair share,” since we shouldn’t fall for Mediscare or naively believe Social Security is healthy. (I already covered the “fair share” part in the last paragraph.) Instead, we should end Medicare as we know it and work to sunset Social Security because the government doesn’t belong in either health care or retirement. (Obviously those tasks have to be done over a number of decades, but the best time to start is now!)

I suppose my message is clear: go pound sand, President Obama.

Now as for Congressman Harris, my only quibble is that he shouldn’t vote to raise the debt ceiling whether there’s a balanced budget amendment with it or not. Make President Obama take the blame for any cuts he’d have to make, since he’s already hinting that seniors and the military will get it. You already have passed a plan, so there’s no need to make any other concessions until you see his proposal.

So if I’m going to call Congressman Harris’s office, it’s going to be with the message that there should be no increase in the debt ceiling and no compromise. Obama and the Democrats made their bed, let them lie in it.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

2 thoughts on “The debt ceiling, locally”

  1. The Treasury Department can move around money for now but this solution is not a permanent one..Even with warnings from the Obama administration that failing to raise the nation s borrowing limit would trigger an economic downturn nearly half of Americans want their member of Congress to oppose raising the debt ceiling say Congress should increase the debt limit and still have no opinion..Tonight s scheduled debt ceiling vote which is expected to fail further displays how low Republicans will stoop for political gain. The rhetoric from both parties over the debt ceiling threatens to erode that number even further..Republicans are playing pure partisan politics. Schoen LLC poll when we described the Gang of Six plan which would most likely involve raising the debt ceiling along with a plan to rein in entitlements and raise taxes a full 65 percent said that they would support that plan..Democrats too are mishandling this issue insisting on a clean vote an increase not coupled with spending reform.

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