Monday, January 14, 2013

Why Is the Debt Ceiling Suddenly a Hot Issue?

From a friend, who has been on the Hill a long time and knows how things are spinned:

In response to this post:

First of all, you're correct. Yet, something is missing.

The debt ceiling has been around for many decades. Why is it only recently a hot issue?

Because addressing the debt ceiling -- by raising it -- is ordinarily a part of the budget. Harry Reid has neglected his responsibility to pass a budget because it would be politically destructive to him.

Ben Bernanke weighed in earlier today.

Key quote: 

[Bernanke argues against debt ceiling and goes on to say:] “...the way to addres it is by having a sensible plan for spending and a sensible plan for revenue and make decisions about how big the government should be or how small it should be."

Yes, actually, if you pass a budget, you thereby diminish the separate significance of the debt ceiling, hopefully by reducing it. So the person who most complains about the debt ceiling, Harry Reid, is the single most guilty person for turning a necessary discipline federal spending to a symbol in order to defeat any and all such disciplines. 

President Obama just follows along.


  1. What is the reasoning people have for why Harry Reid will not pass a budget? Is it because he won't be able to borrow a trillion and a half dollars per year? Couldn't that just be put into a budget? What am I missing here?

  2. Obama has the Republicans in a bind. If they cave, we will mock them for years and they lose a significant minority of their voting support. If they don't cave, the government shuts down (maybe) and the public blames them for not getting them their goodies ASAP.

  3. The debt ceiling is the balanced budget amendment. If there is ever to be any hope for restraining Federal spending, it will be through the debt ceiling. Any politician, any Republican, that votes to raise the debt ceiling is not serious about reducing Federal spending. It is that simple.

    1. Is this another usurpation of power by the executive branch over the legislative branch?

      It does not matter why Harry Reid - or any of them - will not pass a budget, it's a kind of Casus belli a.k.a. a baton waiting to be picked up to (ah-hem) win the day.

      "addressing the debt ceiling -- by raising it -- is ordinarily a part of the budget."

      "The debt ceiling is the balanced budget amendment."

      Watch what they do.

      - IndividualAudienceMember