Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
Ok, so you would literally have to have been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks if you haven’t heard the words debt and ceiling together in the same sentence.
For those of you who may not know, the debt ceiling is one of the exercises of Congress’ Constitutional duty and power of the “purse”. Congress must approve spending; The President is not given, nor may he be given,the power to allocate money of this magnitude on his own.
That said, constantly having to run to Congress for every dollar, though, tends to get a little time consuming, not to mention annoying, when you have to pay the country’s bills, particularly when there is a war happening (think WWI).
With that in mind, Congress effectively said ‘Here’s a credit card, be mindful of the limit or ceiling, and we’ll run the day-to-day operations of war and Government and pay the bill later.’ Once the money has been spent and there is more to buy, the spending continues and the approval needs to be given to pay for what’s already been spent. It’s like when you’re close to your American Express limit, but still need to spend some money to pay monthly obligations; You give them a call and ask them to raise it. The idea is sort of the same, the result not so much.
If you default on your AMEX, its a big deal, but in the grand scheme of things it isn’t that big of a deal. If the Government defaults on their obligations, we could be in serious trouble.
The debt ceiling has been raised 74 times since 1962. The Congress raised it for Dubya every time he had to pay for a war or badly negotiated poorly thought out prescription programs. Yeah, I’m talking to you Medicare Part D.
So what gives? I’ll tell you what: Politics.
I’m sure that it hasn’t escaped your attention that 2012 is coming up with amazing speed. No, seriously, I looked up and was surprised that my calendar still said April yet to my horror it was already nearing the end of July. It’s time to start looking all shiny and new. A concept not quite lost on or understood by the GOP. They get that they need to make the President look bad.
The Republicans shoot themselves in the foot, though, because they haven’t the slightest idea of how to effectively end his reign of “terror”. Imagine the horror : A man who wants to keep social safety nets in place and provide everyone with, *GASP*, health care. That bastard!
Republicans need a new image fast, especially after specifically campaigning on the issue of jobs. They have failed to even put up a bill for a vote that concerned it. Although they could take the time to vote symbolically to take out Medicare. Yeah, turned out to be not such a good look for Congressional Golden Boy Paul Ryan.
The Tea Party is refusing to budge on the issue whether there are cuts or not; their insistence is that it shouldn’t be raised at all, under any circumstances. When one side comes to the table refusing to talk, it makes playing fairly together just a little more difficult.
I’m beginning suspect that the Tea Party isn’t playing with a full deck. I mean, they’re acting like that group of children that preys upon the unsuspecting smart kids. It’s like they’re constantly on the attack against intelligence. I’m not sure if they even realize that the debt ceiling deals with money that has already been spent!
It’s not an ideal situation at the moment, but I suspect that a country like ours needs good credit. It’s like they think that if our credit is bad, we can no longer borrow and will no longer spend. What they fail to realize, though, is that some very bad things will start to occur.
What happens when personal credit is bad? You get higher interest rates and less than desirable terms if you’re even able to get a loan. It shouldn’t be unfamiliar to anyone what will happen. Consumers are having these problems now. Ask a person whose home was just foreclosed on how easy they think that they can get a car loan or even another house loan for that matter.
Imagine if a Government doesn’t have that ability to borrow, with reasonable, if not decent, interest and terms. Our power system here will start to crumble. If that happens, what will we do? It’s not like Europe. There isn’t any one country big enough to bail us out.
My guess is that the President will pull it together in the final hours and raise the limit himself as Former President and Rock-star Bill Clinton suggested, and let the battle rage in the courts.
Make no mistake, both sides are playing the political game at the moment, yet only one is using their powers for evil instead of good. Only one is doing an effective job of holding up the show. I’ll let you guess which side is which.
If this show by the GOP is meant to politically damage the President, which I’m sure it is, but I’m in benefit-of-the-doubt mode, then they are playing a dangerous game in tryint to take the throne by throwing the nation to bad credit wolves.
If it is more of an ideological battle, then battling for your beliefs is something to be respected, even if you disagree with it. However, I suspect that the single driving force behind this game is money and the power that money brings.
Which makes what they are doing that much worse, in my opinion.