Sadie suggested we discuss the debt ceiling. I’m no expert and haven’t followed the matter that closely, but I have some random thoughts to get the conversation started.
1. The budget is like a patient in need of a life-saving operation. Those on the far right argue against raising the debt ceiling at all. This is like saying, okay, you can have the operation, but without anesthesia, and you have to get off the operating table, walk out of the hospital and immediately resume your job. Those on the far left argue for eliminating the ceiling completely or raising it very easily. This is like saying don’t bother to have the operation at all, just increase your meds and hang around here in the hospital and see how it goes. Maybe you miraculously will get better on your own. The patient really does need the operation. But it also needs time and a recovery plan.
2. People most often vote their pocketbooks. (Zach takes this as a racist statement when made about blacks, but that’s nonsense. Most people vote their pocketbooks, and no group more so than the one I’m about to join — retirees. That’s what makes the problem so difficult to solve.) Democrats, and quite often Republicans, have very simply bought votes with debts our children will have to pay. Actually moving toward balancing the budget means demanding that the politicians quit buying votes and the people receiving the payments to accept reducing or eliminating them for the good of the country. It’s like asking a vulture to become a vegetarian.
3. We are being told that if the debt ceiling is not raised the government will not be able to pay half of its bills. Really? The government is paying out two dollars for every one it takes in? The immorality of this leaves me speechless. Any Republican who voted for this madness should be kicked out of the party.
4. The other day, Obama told the Congress to go find a solution and come back to him when it had one. This ideally positions Obama to take credit if a solution is found and to place blame squarely on Congress if it is not. Obama is more clever than we give him credit for.
5. No one seems to have a politically feasible solution to the problem. I know I don’t. Do you?
UPDATE: You might be interested in this very short, but effective, comment on the problem: http://biggovernment.com/dmitchell/2011/07/16/mr-president-heres-that-balanced-approach-you-keep-demanding/.