Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Raising the debt ceiling

By Jennifer Rubin

This morning I chided Sen. Jim DeMint on his purported refusal to raise the debt ceiling. As Allahpundit has has pointed out, not raising the ceiling is the strategy recommended of Fox News host and well-known zealot Glenn Beck.

It also conflicts with the approach of Speaker John Boehner, who released this statement today:

I've been notified that the Obama Administration intends to formally request an increase in the debt limit. The American people will not stand for such an increase unless it is accompanied by meaningful action by the President and Congress to cut spending and end the job-killing spending binge in Washington. While America cannot default on its debt, we also cannot continue to borrow recklessly, dig ourselves deeper into this hole, and mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren. Spending cuts - and reforming a broken budget process - are top priorities for the American people and for the new majority in the House this year, and it is essential that the President and Democrats in Congress work with us in that effort.

I asked a House Republican leadership aide familiar with the speaker's thinking if this meant there would be a House proposal to raise the debt ceiling in conjunction with a package of spending cuts. He replied, "I imagine there'll be a lot discussion of that in the coming weeks."

After all, that's a reasonable approach for a lawmaker as opposed to a cable TV host, isn't it?

Back in November a Republican Senator said:

"You don't have much choice if you charge something on your credit card. pay it, and that's effectively what this debt limit is. . . .If Republicans have to do that on their own, they need to attach some legislation to it that forces us to move towards a balanced budget. Otherwise, I think the American people are going to look at us and say, 'The Republicans still don't get it.'"

That was DeMint. In response to my request for an explanation as to his change of heart, his office e-mailed a list of votes against raising the debt ceiling, along with this statement:

"Since 2006, I have voted against increasing the debt limit because our debt has gotten so out of control that I came to understand that increasing the limit was more damaging than failing to do so. Those who say the sky will fall if we don't increase the debt limit fail to recognize that the sky is already falling with all this reckless debt and uncontrolled spending. I will continue to oppose any effort to increase the debt limit. Furthermore, I will filibuster it unless the Senate passes a Constitutional Amendment to force Congress to balance the budget without raising taxes."

His office declined comment as to whether this was a reversal of his thinking in November.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 6, 2011; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Budget  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Lamar Smith issues first DOJ oversight letter
Next: Morning Bits

Comments

This could be the beginning of a Republican leap off a bridge without checking what's below.

Boehner is no master of public relations. If there's a refusal to raise the debt ceilings in the House, the GOP will get a huge shock that nobody, ESPECIALLY the old people are so ideological that they're willing to lose a SS check or two.

It might also be the trigger for a downgrade of US debt which would cost hundreds of billions more than any legislative agreement that comes out of it would save.

Who knows, Obama might cave in easily on this one. If he doesn't though, the GOP is in for a public beat down over the resulting government shutdown.

Posted by: 54465446 | January 6, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

@544655446

"This could be the beginning of a Republican leap off a bridge without checking what's below."

Or not, depending on how it turns out. It also could be the beginning of the end of the era of huge Obama deficits. Today already marks the end (for now) of enactment of the long term democratic wish list.

Its a reasonable assumption that there is going to be a conflict between the House majority and the administration over spending. we'll have to wait and see how it works out.

Posted by: mikem23 | January 6, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

It's been suggested that the reason a Big G shutdown backlashed on Gingrich and the Rs in the 90s wasn't because of the shutdown aspect but because Rs were threatening Medicare cuts.

I also wonder if we'd have the same reaction now to a shutdown. This is a very different time and boomers like my wife and I are very concerned about our retirement possibilities et al. going forward. That wasn't anywhere near as scary in the mid-90s and it is now with a million boomers entering Medicare eligibility every 100 days and numbers close to this will continue to occur for the next 18 years of boomers.

Posted by: tom75 | January 6, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

All Spending Bills originate in the House of Representatives, so the Republicans have it under their sole control the ability to balance they budget anytime they want. They can prove they are not like President Reagan whose every single budget was larger than the one passed by Congress or W would just went nuts on spending.

Just like with Health Care, quit being the party of NO, and put up or shut up.

So there is no reason to expand the debt ceiling at all, the Republicans only have to cut a little more than one trillion out of the budget. Lets see.

Bring all over seas troops home, 300-400 billion long term, but it would be a big increase right now.

Cancel debatable Defense Programs 100-300 billion.

Drop Farm welfare, 60 billion.

So we have a few 100k to million people out of work, and still are pretty far away.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | January 6, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Where do these morons get the idea that the debt is Obama's? If Bush had simply died as a child, the nation would've been out of debt by 2007 (Thank you President Clinton). Please freeze the debt ceiling. Every dime everyone has will be worthless. China wins! Kill a Republican, let God spit him out.

Posted by: bflorhodes | January 6, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

While you were talking to those really great sources, Jennifer, President Obama and Secretary Gates were cutting the DoD budget by, I think, $73 billion. Could it be that the administration is once again ahead of the Republicans? Now if he'll cut Federal aid to red states, which receive a disproportionate share. . . . And the people in those red states won't mind. They believe in budget cutting, right?

Posted by: amstphd | January 6, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

What a suprise Sen DeMint is more reasonable once he actually has to take action and not just shoot his mouth off.

As I've said in the past, because of the reckless deficits piled on between 2001 and 2007 we had about 2 years worth of budgetary ability to temporarily spend to held shore up the economy to prevent an economic calamity. Times up. Now we need to try and bring spending down and slowly raise taxes to get the deficit under control or we risk the long term health of the economy. We have no choice. We can not continue the Democratic fantasy that we can spend without end or the Republican fantasy we can cut taxes further. We either meet in the middle or I give us another 15 years before the economic pressure causes a radical change in the structure of our government. And it won't be into anything we can imagine today. It will be dicated by forces at work at that specific time which are unknowable to us now.

Posted by: kchses1 | January 6, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

"because of the reckless deficits piled on between 2001 and 2007"

demonrat house 2007 us debt $8 trillion
demonrat house 2010 us debt $14 trillion

facts are stubborn things

Posted by: engdre | January 6, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Jim Demint says, "I will continue to oppose any effort to increase the debt limit. Furthermore, I will filibuster it unless the Senate passes a Constitutional Amendment to force Congress to balance the budget without raising taxes."

Even conservative economists have argued (and reasonably so!) that balancing the budget will not be possible without "revenue enhancements" (that's more taxes, in case you're wondering). But count on rigid and sanctimonious DeMint not to listen to reason or let reality interfere with his flawed but apparently emotionally appealing ideology. Oy.

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | January 6, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

"that balancing the budget will not be possible without "revenue enhancements" (that's more taxes, in case you're wondering)."

or we could eliminate:epa, agriculture, interior, energy, education, cpb, and 30% of defense.

Posted by: engdre | January 6, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

engdre says:
"because of the reckless deficits piled on between 2001 and 2007"

demonrat house 2007 us debt $8 trillion
demonrat house 2010 us debt $14 trillion

facts are stubborn things."

I understand that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were "off the books" while Bush was president. When Obama became president, they became "on the books." Thus, the deficit became much bigger under Obama.

Posted by: michael_chaplan | January 6, 2011 8:50 PM | Report abuse

"I understand that the wars"

prove it commie loser

Posted by: engdre | January 6, 2011 9:20 PM | Report abuse

"When Obama became president, they became "on the books.""

yea the demonrat senate and house saw to that. allah you commies are stupid.

Posted by: engdre | January 6, 2011 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I understand that the wars"
prove it commie loser
Posted by: engdre

Start here Facist Pig:
Why can't Obama keep the cost of War off the books like Bush?
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100714192322AAqXEDS

Posted by: rcaruth | January 6, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

"Now we need to try and bring spending down and slowly raise taxes to get the deficit under control or we risk the long term health of the economy. We have no choice. We can not continue the Democratic fantasy that we can spend without end or the Republican fantasy we can cut taxes further."

kchses1, I'll agree with half of this - that we can't continue the fantasy that we can spend without end. I'll disagree with the other half though. There's lots of talk about how we need to maintain or raise tax levels so the govt can take in more money to combat the deficit and the debt. The argument misses the point though. What needs more attention is *growing* the economy. When the economy grows, we collectively prosper. The Treasury collects more tax revenues, but it's because the tax base is broader, not because the taxpayers are forced to pay a higher percentage of their earnings.

The Left has a tendency to either look at the money supply perpetually as a static figure, and the money must be allocated fairly. Or the Left tends to feel that taxation must be punitive in nature towards those on the higher end of the economic spectrum. If the Left could kick its economy killing, liberty strangling addiction to spending and we could have a low level of taxation, the economy would grow and, logically, tax revenues would increase. The result would be a declining deficit and debt.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | January 6, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

"Start here Facist Pig:"

nah start with the fact that sanfrannan raised the debt from 8-14 trillion commie/facist loser

Posted by: engdre | January 6, 2011 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Demonrat? Is this what we've come to -- schoolyard name calling? Well, okay, let's see. How about Republiclowns? Or Republidums? Reflubadums, Republican'ts. Republishams, Refumbledums?

Posted by: Southernwriter | January 6, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I'll add that when it comes to cutting spending, we should be wary of cutting military spending. I'm all for the DOD cutting waste or frivolous expenditures, but.... Lowering military spending where it diminishes our ability to project our strength will likely be counterproductive. The $1 we save today could turn into $10 of spending tomorrow because some bad actor, who is no longer deterred, takes advantage and becomes an aggressor somewhere. If we have to get involved, economically speaking we're gonna regret not spending that $1 when we're spending 10 times that in perhaps a war. (Never mind the human toll.)

The most poignant example was how Britain & Co whittled down their militaries after WWI. The Germans became unconcerned about a serious counter punch and we all know what came next.

It is of course impossible to prove a negative, which makes it difficult to sell the case that military spending shouldn't be cut. However, it would behoove us to be wary of the consequences of diminished military projection and strength.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | January 6, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse

"Demonrat? Is this what we've come to -- schoolyard name calling? "

yes go google "tea party racist" idiot

Posted by: engdre | January 6, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm aware some would agree with half of what I said and disagree with the other half. No surprise.

We cannot grow out of this deficit. The economy was badly damaged. Unemployment will probably remain persistantly high for several years. Growth will probably be consistant but highly skeptical growth will expand enough to grow us out of these deficits. We need to carafully raise taxes. This is NOT a leftist tendency or anything related to the conservative/liberal paradigm many people here use an intellectual crutch. It is simple math and economics. We have no choice. There are serious consequences to each side maintaining their own private hallucination.

"reckless deficits": The deficts during the Bush administration were pointless. We cut taxes but did nothing to restrain spending and fought two wars. All on borrowed money. The deficits under Obama are sickening but necessary. Without the gov't replacing the giant hole in the economy there was a very good chance the economy would have spiraled downward.

Posted by: kchses1 | January 7, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company