The Last Debt Ceiling Hurdle

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The House vote on raising the debt ceiling was far less dramatic than advertised, save for the return of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who cast a “yes” vote. The package sailed through by a 269-161 margin. Ninety-five Democrats joined 174 Republicans in favor of the plan, while 66 Republicans joined 95 Democrats in voting no. “We’re coming up to a deadline we all must recognize: default,” said Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). “Both parties got us in this mess; both parties are going to have to work together to get us out.”

Yet even before the debt ceiling deal was finalized, there was more than enough rancor to go around. Far-left New York Times columnist Paul Krugman concluded that “extortion works” and that the terms of the agreement “amount to an abject surrender on the part of the president.” Tea Party founder Mark Meckler was equally upset. “None of the budget plans proposed have real cuts in them–only promises to cut,” he said. “The reality is…these promises are actually a lie.” The Daily Beast’s Peter Beinart claims the “Tea Party is now running Washington,” even as Tea Party-favored presidential candidate Michele Bachmann believes the deal “is like saying we embrace Greece.” Apparently the current definition of compromise in Washington, D.C. is something that makes both sides miserable — and childish.

Yet Democrats seemed to grab the edge when it came to histrionics. Vice President Joe Biden accused Tea Party Republicans of having “acted like terrorists” during the negotiations. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) echoed that sentiment. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money,” he told colleagues at a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting.

What makes Democrats so unhappy? Certainly the devil is in the details, but the bigger picture is that the national conversation has been altered. And while it is convenient to blame Tea Partiers for that change, there is a level of denial on the part of Democrats that borders on breathtaking. A lot of Americans, far from blaming the Tea Party for the debt ceiling deal, are giving them credit for it. Perhaps Mr. Biden and his fellow Democrats would like to pretend that the only election which occurred in the last three years was the one in 2008, but that is simply not the case. Millions of Americans appalled by the reckless spending of an Obama administration and a Democratically-controlled Congress sent Tea Party candidates to Washington in 2010 precisely to put a stop to such fiscal recklessness.

How reckless? The current deal allows for a $2.4 trillion hike in the debt ceiling. That is the largest hike in the history of the nation — and it follows the second largest, a $1.9 trillion increase passed by Congress and signed by President Obama on Feb. 12, 2010. Thus, despite all the venom directed at the Tea Party for forcing the issue, America’s addiction to deficit spending is in dire need of fixing.

Will it be fixed? Rep. Ron Paul explains the illusory nature of government “cuts.” They are “akin to a family ‘saving’ $100,000 in expenses by deciding not to buy a Lamborghini, and instead getting a fully loaded Mercedes, when really their budget dictates that they need to stick with their perfectly serviceable Honda,” he writes. He then gets to sobering reality. “The truth is that frightening rhetoric about default and full faith and credit of the United States is being carelessly thrown around to ram through a bigger budget than ever, in spite of stagnant revenues.”

Those revenues currently stand at $2.2 trillion dollars, which Paul notes was the entire federal budget only seven years ago. “If we simply returned to that year’s spending levels, which would hardly be austere, we would have a balanced budget right now,” he wrote. “If we held the line on spending, and the economy actually did grow as estimated, the budget would balance on its own by 2015 with no cuts whatsoever.”

Question: is Ron Paul a “terrorist”?

As part of this deal, such questions, more or less, will be left to a committee comprised of six Republicans and six Democrats, from each chamber of Congress tasked with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions by Thanksgiving. How they go about making those cuts remains subject to intense speculation. House Speaker John Boehner claims the deal is “all spending cuts,” even as the White House issued a statement Sunday night saying the committee must also consider “revenue-raising tax reform that asks for the most fortunate Americans to sacrifice.” At issue is whether or not the Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire in 2013. If they are, $3.5 trillion in “revenue” will accrue over ten years absent any action by the committee.

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  • JohnC

    Great article…

  • davarino

    Good luck with congressmen acting like grownups. If that were possible it would have happened a long time ago. Grownups make hard choices and get the job done for the good of a principal (ie. United States), not the players and the next door neighbor and self. The voters also have to decide if they want children to continue leading them or if they want adults.

    Its amazing to me how the dems believe this is the wrong time to cut spending. When is a good time to cut spending. When times are good they will argue against spending cuts because there is lots of money to throw around. So when is a good time to cut spending? When the government goes broke? Then nobody gets anything.

  • StephenD

    I just am sick and tired of the same old lame arguments of class warfare. How the "wealthiest and Corporate Jet owners should have to pay their fair share."
    Who is against fairness? Fairness is a measurable issue. If the "Millionaire" pays 22% of his income and we on the other end pay 22% of ours, how is that not fair? The facts are that 49% of Americans don't pay anything into the system. Listen, a flat consumer based tax is the only way to go. Otherwise, I would suggest that only if you pay taxes should you have a say in how taxes are spent ~ which is only fair. Therefore, the voter base for the big spenders would dry up. How soon would they be ready and willing to cut spending then?

  • tagalog

    I wish it were actually true that our legislators in Congress thought of the voters (or a bloc of them) as terrorists. Then they'd be apprehensive about the voters. As things now stand, they know the right wing is full of hot air, a paper tiger, who can easily be circumvented.

    Does anyone agree with me that it's about a 99.9% likelihood that when the time comes to pull those "triggers" the Democrats will refuse to make the spending cuts? Why wouldn't they? Half of the reduction in spending will come from the Defense Department, their favorite bugaboo. That means a guaranteed end to the Afghan and Iraq wars. Of course they'll refuse to agree to cuts in spending, and they know that when the time comes to pull that trigger the Republicans won't have the courage to make cuts in entitlement programs, where the cuts need to be made.

    So the Dems get the biggest increase in the debt ceiling in history, an end to the wars we're fighting, no cuts in entitlement programs, and Obama free from economic flak for the next year and a half. The Repubs get the same old set of empty promises to cut spending some time in the future. The Dems even get to isolate the no tax hike issue, something that is controversial among the general public.

  • alexander

    Foreign aid did NOT stopped…Do we have too much money?

  • alexander

    Foreign aid did NOT stop…Do we have too much money?

  • Steve Chavez

    Tea Party VS. the Communist Party.

    The Democrat Party is so far to the left that they are now equals to the Communist Party USA!

    PLEASE GO TO CPUSA.ORG AND PWW.ORG, or People's World, and you will see that their articles written by hard-core and die-hard Communists are the same as the Democrat talking points. The only issue is, who is following who. I believe, it is the COMMUNIST PARTY USA LEADING THE DEMOCRAT PARTY!

    The Left is demonizing their main enemy and threat to their stranglehold on America: The Tea Party. If repeated enough, the gullible and naive listen to them which worked when Obama's Slogan Department repeated his slogans in a brainwashing technique, ala a CULT!

    Please go to CPUSA.ORG and link onto their Communist Youth League and especially People's World and you will see the reasons the Democrat Party and the Communist Party are really one in the same!

  • LindaRivera

    An inferior health care plan that no one wants and CANNOT afford to pay. The threat to jail and/or fine those who don't purchase the government enforced plan.

    Massive spending as if there is no tomorrow. Fighting wars we have no money for. Massive borrowing. The Massive giving away of Billions of dollars every year to other countries, including the oil-wealthy Middle East, Hamas-controlled Gaza and the Palestinian Authority organization who fill their war chests, build mansions and laugh all the way to the bank with free infidel money. Whilst in America, homeless shelters are filled to capacity; tent cities have sprung up all over the U.S. filled with desperate, jobless, homeless, NEGLECTED Americans.

    Massive debt. The massive printing of paper money out of thin air to DELIBERATELY create out-of-control inflation. There is no question that the total DESTRUCTION of America's economy is planned. The results will be horrifying. In the once wealthy and great nation of America, millions of Americans will become destitute, hungry and homeless with no money or resources to help them.

  • LindaRivera

    Organic, non-gmo avocado, fruit and nut trees and berries must be planted in all of our nation’s cities’ and towns’ parks to help the many millions of Americans who will soon be in a desperate struggle to survive.

    Watch it. And weep for our great nation and people:

    FALL Of The Republic – The Presidency Of Barack H Obama – The Full Movie HQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8LPNRI_6T8&fe

  • LindaRivera

    SCARY……

    Is this REALLY our AMERICA??????

    Know the TRUTH about the Government Health Care Bill H.R.3200 – Key Points http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcBaSP31Be8

    • Fred Dawes

      It has not been the real America for 70 years ask who really was the winner of ww2? it is not what you think.

  • Texasron

    The congress is planning to recess because they "WORKED SO HARD" these last few weeks. Well, they need to stay in Washington and find where they can reduce spending. They do not need a recess, they need to solve the country's job problem!

    • Fred Dawes

      You may add the job problem can be helped by just removing any and all talk about it that will happen soon! obama will just tell us each day the we have 100 percent employment and all the evil people have been put in camps for Reeducation and HELP For the real future to come.

  • http://mypage.direct.ca/l/lbouchar/ SeaMystic

    The core clause that is creating the Nat’l Debt Crisis around the World including the U.S., is in a clause of the Bank of England since 1694, and part of International finance, this has now come to roost.

    Check: http://mypage.direct.ca/l/lbouchar/

    Particularly chapter 2 & 3. Titled, “Guardians of Democracy, a Mystical View.”

    The Nat’l Debt was created as a Debt in Perpetuity, ever expanding through the noted Principle of Issuance with Compound Interest, for Government needs, through selected Bank.

    The Sword of Damocles, may be avoided this time, but it is inevitable, unless the enslaving clause is changed.

    Humanities present Enslavement , is not through Chains, but Compound Interest, with intent.

  • mrbean

    The only difference between a common street thug and the present liberals in congress is that the street thug does not pretend to be moral while he is looting your wealth by force nor does he have the gall to claim the he is doing it for your benefit.

    • Fred Dawes

      You can see

  • Fred Dawes

    Its all about you and you will become a state tax slave, and each of our political leaders are nothing but tools for the banking system to be used against us all.

  • Ellman

    You cannot ask Socialists and Conservatives to 'get along'. Ideologically they are at completely opposite philosophical positions, one advocating 'cradle-to-grave' dependency and the other 'individual freedom, property rights, and free enterprise'. However, I wish Conservatives would be better at articulating and supporting their positions better. As for the socialists they will continue to cite 'racism', 'bigotry', Tea Party 'terrorism', 'hatred', etc. They cannot articulate their philosophical foundation because most Americans still don't accept Marxism as the answer to our problems. In fact, we look at Europe and say 'Why would we want that mess over here?'

  • TheBigFig

    Anytime the muslim lawn jockey opens his mouth its a lie!z

  • steven l

    Lets ideology on both sides knock each other off.
    I suggest that the Republicans slash 2 Tri. $ of democrats budget and in exchange the Democrats do the same, No questions asks and 4 Tri. will be eliminated from the 14 Tri. over a 10 years period.
    Both side cheat for much more than that anyway.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    If defense ends up getting cut, which is what is probably going to happen since Republican and Dhimmicrats will cancel each other out in the committee, I’ll never vote for another Republican for the rest of my life.

    This deal is the biggest joke. It’s phony baloney smoke and mirrors. The RINO/Neo-Con/Blue Blood/Establishment Republicans, i.e. the Left, cut the legs out from under the tea partiers. Hence, they are as much an enemie as BHO.

  • tagalog

    I guess the Republicans aren't as good as the Democrats are at never letting a good crisis go to waste, and then turning it into a propaganda victory.

    • Jim_C

      But they are still far better at controlling the terms of debate. The debt ceiling? Pretty hard to get jazzed about then when it was raised 798 times during the last administration to no peeps of outrage–yet it was front and center all this time as if A. people really gave a sht about it, B. It "might not be raised!" Anyone who knew anything knew it would be.

      And if you think democrats are happy about this deal, I invite you to check any liberal-leaning website. They are every bit as disgusted.

      • tagalog

        Those disgusted Democrats, assuming they exist, just haven't grasped yet what a strategic victory they won with this debt ceiling deal.

  • TexExpatriate

    The only surpise to me here was that Paul Ryan, a sensible and genuine American, voted for this bad, traitorous bill. The rest of those who voted for it are spineless quislings. Every thinking person knew that default was never in the cards. I'm proud to say my Congressman, Todd Rokita, voted against it.