Federal Debt Ceiling And Well-Informed Members Of Congress

I have been taken to task from both the left and right over my assertion that one should just not wake up in the morning and say “I am going to run for Congress.”   I happen to think that one ponders the issues over time, follows the nuances of policy, and shapes some very well-defined ideas and goals before setting out on a bid to win election.

Call me old-fashioned, elitist, or purist from recalling the civic books of my youth but that is what I truly believe.  Shaping policy is not a game, or for those who have no real interest in pursuing the task with integrity and a certain amount of intellectual heft.

What happened in 2010 was in many cases quite the opposite of the ideal situation.  A whole slew of very mediocre people who were angry got involved with electoral politics.  Many of them were elected.

Now they are trying to gain the insight and knowledge they should have amassed prior to making their candidacy official.  Lets be honest.  If one has not sensed the desire to know history and care about policy from at least college days should they be making decisions for the nation?

With so many of them now elected without the gravitas needed to govern comes the first big problem. 

The federal debt ceiling.

The biggest learning curve to muster for these newbies is the need to increase the debt limit of the federal government.

On Sunday’s ABC morning show “This Week”  Major Garrett, a former FAUX News reporter who now works for National Journal, stated in a roundtable discussion that many of these new elected faces in Washington were learning about the debt ceiling.  It seems for the first time!

How can they have thought of running for Congress and not know about this matter?  The topic has been in the news often, and there has been much written about  for many years.  (All of which takes me back to the first sentences of this post.)

As Garrett noted Sunday at every meeting to help new members of Congress learn the ropes in Washington, regardless of the topic for the meeting, mature and seasoned Washington insiders were making it clear that the debt ceiling matter had to be taken seriously.

The debt ceiling matter IS that important.  Teabaggers in Washington had better soon smell the coffee!

Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors was asked during the broadcast what the impact would be if Congress did not raise the debt ceiling.

“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.”