The Treasury Department is warning that unless the $6.4 trillion debt ceiling is raised the US could go into default. While it’s likely that Congress will simply raise the debt ceiling, already the issue is being filled with partisan recriminations.
Democrats point to the government’s need to borrow more to ridicule President Bush’s tax cuts, his handling of the economy and ballooning federal government budget deficits, which are expected to hit records this year and next.
Republicans blame the lingering effects of the 2001 recession and the costs of fighting terrorism for the need to extend the debt limit.
Both sides are right. The Democrats are right to point out that budget deficits are ballooning. Then they ignore their own point and propose massive government spending increases. The talk of Bush’s tax cuts being the problem ignore the fact that the cuts are phased in over 10 years and have barely been implemented.
The GOP argument is also correct. The economic downturn is going to push revenues down. When people aren’t making money, there’s less to be taxed. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as increased national security and antiterrorism spending also add to the problem in the short term.
However, neither side is advocating the most sane way to get out of this situation. STOP SPENDING MONEY LIKE DRUNKEN SAILORS! It’s not that hard. When people in the real world don’t make as much, they cut back on spending. If my paycheck isn’t as high as it used to be I’m not going to buy a new computer assuming that it will somehow boost my income later. (Well, I might, but I admit that isn’t a very wise choice…) The same should apply to the government. We do not need new and expanded federal programs. We need to cut expensive regulations and tighten existing programs. We need to hold spending at less than the rate of inflation. If that means no more pork, then Senators and Representatives on both sides of the aisle need to do their part.