Sunday, September 29, 2013

Some quick comments about the 2013 debt ceiling, federal budget issues

When looking at the 2013 debt ceiling debate (as well as the 2011 one too), as well as federal budget issues in general, it's important to remember a few things.
First, most modern presidents have raised the debt ceiling and fought with Congress about it too. But, that doesn't - or didn't - make it right. In fact, actually, it makes it wrong, especially where there are MANY things that could be done to solve the deficit and debt problems, as I have written and talked about for decades now.
Second, when watching all the bemoaning about the Republicans in Congress, etc., it's also important to remember that in 2006, when then-Sen. Obama, a Democrat, didn't support the policies of then-President Bush, a Republican, he also voted against the debt ceiling.
Here's a quote from his comments at the time:
"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better." 
Sound familiar? Yup, that's what the Republicans in Congress are saying right now, while opposing the Democratic president.
So, to all my political friends, if you believe that the Republicans in Congress are WRONG now, so was Sen. Obama then; if you believe Sen. Obama was correct in 2006, to take a stand and vote against the debt ceiling on principle, then what the Republicans are doing now is correct as well.

It's also important to add that instead of showing symbolic action by just speaking against the debt ceiling and voting, the Republicans in Congress are actually trying to 1) negotiate spending cuts in order to fix what they believe are major problems, and 2) cut spending so that the debt ceiling increase isn't needed.
The American people, from all walks of life, may not agree with what the Republicans are proposing to be cut (I certainly don't support everything they are proposing); but at least they are proposing something.
It's a far cry from Obama in 2006, or when he became a presidential candidate in 2007, or when he campaigned in 2008, or even after he became the president-elect and said the following:
"We cannot sustain a system that bleeds billions of taxpayer dollars on programs that have outlived their usefulness, or exist solely because of the power of a politicians, lobbyists, or interest groups. We simply cannot afford it. This isn’t about big government or small government. It’s about building a smarter government that focuses on what works. That is why I will ask my new team to think anew and act anew to meet our new challenges.... We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." 
That was four years, 10 months, and five days ago. How much longer do we all have to wait for the president to fulfill his promises of proposing "smarter" government while going "line by line" to eliminate wasteful government spending that we don't need and shouldn't have to pay for?

As a reminder, three years ago, the New York Times posted this interactive budget puzzle. You too can solve the federal budget problems in about 15 minutes. And this doesn't include all kinds of other ideas like bringing back tariffs, a transaction tax on Wall Street trading, etc.

1 comment:

Mark de Zabaleta said...

Excellent article !

Mark de Zabaleta