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Monday, January 3, 2011

Republicans Need To Avoid The Debt Ceiling Trap

The nation's "debt ceiling" will need to be raised early in the next Congress to accomodate the new reality of trillion-dollar-plus annual deficits.

The possibility that the Republican House will refuse to raise the debt ceiling is the favorite topic of discussion in the media and by the Obama administration.  There seems to be a double-dare going on here, as evidenced by the statements yesterday by White House economic advisor Austin Goolsbee:
"This is not…this is not a game. You know, the debt ceiling is not…is not something to toy with. That's the…the…if we hit the debt ceiling, that's the…essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history. The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. I mean, that would be a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008.

"As I say, that's not a game. I don't see why anybody's talking about playing chicken with the...with the debt ceiling.

"If...if we get to the point where you've damaged the full faith and credit of the United States, that would...that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity."
Republicans who talk about not raising the debt ceiling, or tying a raising of the debt ceiling to some other budgetary agreement, are falling into a trap.  I disagree with Jim DeMint on this point:
"I think we should resist that. We need to have a showdown, at this point, that we're not going to increase our debt ceiling anymore. We are going to cut things necessary to stay within the current levels, which is over $14 trillion," DeMint told the conservative magazine Human Events in an interview released Monday. "So this needs to be a big showdown."
The debt ceiling is the fight Democrats want to have, because eventually Republicans will have to cave on the issue.  By making raising the debt ceiling the test of congressional power, Democrats are fighting a battle they will win even though the runaway spending of the past two years was caused by the Democrats.

The debt ceiling is the symptom, not the cause.  Republicans need to fight the causes of the need to raise the debt ceiling, and on those issues the public will back Republicans.

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  1. You are correct about which fight the Republicans need to fight, but even if they do will the true fight get the coverage?

    The biggest handicap for messaging is how biased the mainstream media is. They have shown, over and over, that they are willing to ignore a story that is not "on message" for the Left.

    Sadly, Fox News is not much better.

  2. @chris - my point exactly! The Republican-led Congress are already being set up as the enemy/evil anti-American/hatemongers by the MSM. The Dem/libs have a willing accomplice in taking out the Republicans. I agree with DeMint in principle, but the reality is that the deck is stacked against the Conservatives. Tying raising the debt ceiling to severe cuts in spending is the only way. However, the MSM will spin that to be that "the Republican-led Congress has caused the greatest economic crisis in US history" because they stand to fix the cause of the problem.

    Playing chicken with bomb that has a lit fuse - not good judgment. Just like Russian roulette - it WILL be fatal, just a matter of time. And the Republicans are being set up, as usual, to be the victims. Will they see it and stop themselves before they are destroyed? Stay tuned......

  3. Perhaps the Republicans should allow the federal government to shut down for a month (except for absolutely necessary agencies like air traffic controllers, the military). Let those overpaid bureaucrates understand what it is like to go without a couple of paychecks.

    Then only reinstate those alphabet agencies where there was an impact felt from their closing.

    The first to be wiped off the books? The Department of Education which has a huge budget and has done absolutely NADA for the educational systems in the U.S.

  4. The republicans should stick to their guns and force the democrats to accept elimination of programs and agencies as part of deal to raise the debt ceiling. And for good measure throw in a provision to repeal Davis-Bacon, the Wagner Act, ban government workers unions and include a national right to work act and remove the federal tax deductibility of state and local taxes from state and local governments that don't do the same.

  5. This is the exact mindset that will cause weak gains or even a loss in '12.

    Yeah, I know, I've heard all the whining about the MSM. Our side already knows that! They are not worried about what the media says; if they were, November would have looked different. What voters on our side ARE worried about is whether the GOP is serious about facing down the Dims. If the GOP goes squishy, it's over.

  6. 1. I couldn't agree more.

    2. So the GOP will inaugurate its postBush conversion to fiscal responsibility by...abetting a default on the national debt?

    Brilliant, just brilliant.

    3. DeMint's is exactly the kind of rhetoric that the MSM gleefully quoted during the showdown between Bill Clinton and the Contract Republicans. It is exactly the kind of behavior that put the tottering Clinton back on the path to an easy re-election.


    4. Hopefully Congressional Republicans will quickly come to their senses. Hopefully this is not another case of 'first as tragedy, then as farce'.

  7. A former college classmate (Hawaii) and awesome smart guy Dr. Jack Wheeler [ToThePointNews.com]recommends the following:

    "Hyper-inflation is only another word for total default. The only way to avoid it is a government default on its debts only. Then we can switch from a worthless fiat currency to an asset-backed currency...Gold brings freedom."

  8. "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." Senator Obama, 2006.