Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Debt Ceiling and Political Cowards

Fox News recently reported that "The House of Representatives ... voted to raise the debt limit by $1.9 trillion. That vote raises the debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion, a new high for the amount of debt the U.S. has ever carried." It goes on to say that "As recently as 2001, the U.S. debt was only at $5.7 trillion. But exploded throughout the past decade after Sept. 11, 2001, amid record spending by the Bush and Obama administrations." Furthermore, it noted that "If Congress doesn't hike the debt ceiling, the U.S. would be unable make good on Social Security and Medicare payments.
"It certainly makes sense to be opposed to raising the debt ceiling. The vast majority of it was in areas that the government has no business being in. Yet, I'm disgusted to see where some of the "nay" votes came from. The Senate approved the debt limit increase in mid-January on a 60-40 party-line vote. Meanwhile, the House vote was much closer, 217-212. All Republicans and more than 30 Democrats voted against raising the debt ceiling. I have heard our Congress be described as a "parliament of whores." At the very least it is a club of spoiled brats that believes it should be allowed to have its cake and eat it too. The two "stimulus" packages that added over $1 trillion to the national debt in one year alone could not have passed without the help of some (if not many) of those who voted against raising the debt ceiling. Grow up members of Congress. Be responsible on the front end so you do not have to pretend to be a victim on the back end.

The Fox article also stated that "moderate and fiscally-conscious Democrats were suspect of voting to hike the debt" and since the whole House is facing hostile voters in 2010, they all collectively voted to cover themselves.

On the one hand, it would have been a wonderful thing to witness the Congress voting against the debt ceiling. Such an act would force everyone to roll up their sleeves and get to work on a sustainable -- and maybe even Constitutional -- budget. But it is ridiculous to witness these politicians vote as though they are drunk with power when bills come before them and cannot own the results of their voting when the time calls for it. If a member fueled the debt, they should confess up to it. I believe you should ask your member of Congress -- if he or she voted for TARP and similar packages, but against raising the ceiling -- to explain how such was going to be paid for? Those are the type of tough questions that demand honest answers today.

Kevin Price is a syndicated columnist whose articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media. Kevin Price is also host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650). Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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