Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Debt Ceilings ,Casey Anthony and Priorities

In the Wall Street Journal Emil W. Henry Jr. describes it like this..He says that Since 1962, the U.S. has reached its debt ceiling 74 times, about once every eight months.

Every time, the ceiling has been raised with little notice outside Washington and little, if any, change in the trajectory of government spending. But when opposing parties have held the White House and Congress, the process has always resembled a Kabuki dance. What should be a debate becomes an exercise in scoring political points. This is what we see happening now.

In one such exercise in 2006, congressional Democrats criticized the Bush deficits and publicly refused to raise the ceiling, yet they had every intention of doing so. It was just political gamesmanship.

Republicans argue (and rightly so) that simply raising the ceiling over and over again is an unsustainable policy, so they're demanding budget cuts. That however is an argument for another day....When the electric bill is due...I may say..."Man,I've got to turn some things off in this house...but does that mean that I'm not going to pay the present bill?

Many Democrats agree that the U.S. has a deficit problem, but they stress the necessity of raising the ceiling promptly, to prevent default or problems funding other U.S. obligations. When assessing the need for fiscal reform, it helps to look back at the past.

The debt ceiling was first set in September 1917. At that time, Congress authorized the issuance of about $7.5 billion in U.S. bonds and another $4 billion in certificates of indebtedness, under the Second Liberty Bond Act. How much was $11.5 billion dollars back then if you account for inflation?

In March 2011 dollars, it would be $193.2 billion. Currently, the debt limit is set at $14.3 trillion -- so inflation doesn't tell the whole story! To be sure, Washington's love affair with debt has grown.

Depending how high Congress raises the ceiling in coming months, it could potentially surpass 100% again. It would take at least a $700 billion increase: currently the ceiling is set at $14.3 trillion and would have to be a little greater than $15 trillion to move past the first quarter's annualized GDP estimate. The last time Congress raised the debt ceiling, in February 2010, it increased the limit by almost $2 trillion.

While this history may be interesting, it doesn't necessarily help policymakers decide whether or not to raise the debt ceiling this time around. That needs to be a determination of whether the potential harm of the budgetary cuts necessary to avoid raising the ceiling are worth the risk they pose to the U.S. economic recovery.

But the history does help show the need for longer-term fiscal reform. The U.S. isn't fighting a world war, but the nation's government is borrowing like it is. U.S. debt shouldn't be anywhere near 100% of GDP. Congress needs to either cut its spending, raise taxes, or both to cure its addiction to debt. I say do both!

I hate to say this...but in my opinion...It is time to raise taxes...Especially on the 1% percent of the nation's wealthiest and on multi-national corporations. Why does this seem to bother working class people so much?  By that, I mean people who are struggling to put their children through college...People who are watching their paychecks shrink because THEY are being over burdened with taxes???Why are these people voting Republican?? It seems as if that is a conflict of interests.

The wealthy can afford to pay more taxes and it won't hurt them at all..At least not like it will hurt you and I ,if we get hit with more taxes. I can't name three people I personally know who makes over $100K a year...Yet when the President proposed making people like that and up pay more taxes....Republicans convinced Joe Six Pack and farmers living up in the mountains and folks living in the suburbs in the so called "Bible Belt" that this somehow was them! (The complexion of their skin may be different than mine...but they don't make 100 K a year either.  They're in the same boat I'm in.) That they would be paying more taxes.

These same people think that the raising of the debt ceiling means certain peril for them...Try the possibility of the nation defaulting on it's loans and suddenly becoming a bad credit risk!...try the nation not paying a percentage of it's government workers... and watching  interest rates go up..Try that!  When it's harder for you to get a loan for that car, for college, for that small business...Then ask me if the President and congress should have raised the debt ceiling???  Better yet...when your credit card bill is higher than it used to be...Come talk to me again....

Responsible politicians on both sides realize that we can't let August 3rd come and go without getting this done...Irresponsible Tea Party republicans just want the President to fail...They are willing to let the economy collapse, just to make this President look bad.
This playing chicken with our lives is the most reprehensible thing I can imagine...

And yet a sizable majority of people STILL vote republican every election...That's like watching a person who has just robbed your house walk out the front door with a bag of your possesions and you walking up to the robber and going- "Heyyy man that looks heavy...let me help you get that in your trunk!"

The same people that have time to threaten Casey Anthony's life (and the lives of her jurors) don't have a clue as to how the people they elected last November are playing with their future and their lives.  But I'm repeating myself...I said all of that yesterday...I've been saying a lot of this since I started writing this blog...

I just can't believe the utter naivete' and stupidity of the American people as a whole at times.  People should be out in the streets protesting what Congress is doing in stalling the President...but noooooooooooooo, they are still debating a murder trial that is over!, Talking passionately about a defendent that they don't know  and whose life doesn't impact theirs in anyway whatsoever!!!! For the record, I believed Casey Anthony was guilty too..but a jury in a court of law said that she wasn't...Story over. Time to move on to something else..I don't know her or her family....Neither does any of these people outside of the courthouse or on Facebook and Twitter talking about the case ad naseum ,while ignoring this issue.

Distraction!  We are distracted by so much in this country...The important stuff just gets pushed under the couch...,.I don't know how this is going to end...Who is going to blink...President Obama or the Republican House of represenatives...but I do know that if the economy does tank again...just who I'm going to hold accountable.....

The American people!   They say you get the government you deserve!


Brenda said...

AMEN...AMEN...Well spoken brother!

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