Here we go, again.
The debt limit caps the total amount of allowable outstanding U.S. federal debt. For people reading along that took place back on August 1st. Since that time the Treasury Department has been taking as the newspapers remind us “extraordinary measures”. But that can only last so long.
As Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reminded Congress today that if the debt ceiling is breached, “it is uncertain whether we could continue to meet all the nation’s commitments” after October 18th. In other words Congress and that also mean Republicans, need to be adults and either raise or suspend the debt limit or the Federal government will lack the cash to pay all its obligations.
That has never happened before.
What are front and center is the Republican desire to get something for their vote. Instead of just doing their job, the conservatives want to be bought off for their votes. As noted on this blog last week the Republicans mimic Ferengis on Star Trek.
Why we have every reason to be cranked with conservative Republicans is that raising the debt limit has no direct impact on the size of the national debt. It has no impact either for more spending or freezing or restricting spending. The only thing that increasing the debt limit does is pay expenses previously authorized by presidents and Congress.
But the Ferengis in Congress will fight and pontificate and try to force their way to get something before they will do what is simply the only logical action to take.
This week Steve Rattner, who loves to use charts to drive home the points the nation needs to know, made a perfect point at the time Senate Republicans are making markets jittery.
Republicans like to blame Democrats for all this borrowing. But the facts show otherwise. Five of the six presidents who incurred the most debt relative to the size of the economy in the past 60 years were Republicans. While Donald Trump faced the need to counteract Covid effects, his tax cuts and spending increases also played a major part. And Barack Obama had to deal with the financial crisis. But the fact remains that of the 57 percentage point increase in the debt to GDP ratio since 1960, 52 percentage points – all but five percentage points – were incurred with a Republican in the White House. (Note that Republicans and Democrats held the White House for roughly equivalent periods over these decades.)
What this blogger simply can not condone is the attitude expressed by Republicans that this issue is one to be played for partisan advantage. NO ONE would win if the nation defaulted on the debt. Look at how the markets have reacted to the high-wire act by conservatives.
As we know Republicans had a huge hand in amassing this debt. They must simply put the need of the nation before their playground antics.
And so it goes.