Debt Ceiling Denial
America's fiscal woes are coming front-and-center as the debate in Washington shifts to our debt and spending. You do realize, don't you, that our reported debt as per the U.S. Treasury has been exactly $16,699,396,000,000 for four straight months? That just happens to be $25 million below the legal limit. The Treasury explains here how it has resorted to 'extraordinary measures” to maintain this limit. Needless to say, this cannot go on forever. Thus we are stuck with another battle to increase the debt ceiling. In a speech yesterday to business leaders, Obama dismissed concerns about raising our debt limit: “Raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy. All it does is it says you got to pay the bills that you've already racked up, Congress.” What remains clear is that Washington has a spending problem, and the debt ceiling debate is evidence of this.
So Is There A Plan?
The CBO issued its report this week and determined that our federal debt as a percentage of GDP will hit 100% by 2038. According to the CBO, “federal debt held by the public under the extended alternative fiscal scenario would reach 190 percent of GDP in 2038.” In other words, we are on an unsustainable path and yet not only are we not talking about it but the president refuses to negotiate or compromise on the debt ceiling. Why doesn't Obama want to negotiate on the debt ceiling? Because Republicans are using the debt ceiling as leverage to negotiate the defunding or delay of ObamaCare. This has Obama throwing a temper tantrum. During that same speech yesterday, Obama went on to complain: “You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt being used to extort a president or a governing party and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and nothing to do with the debt.” The only problem with that statement is that it is completely untrue. In fact, even the Washington Post gave this 4 Pinnochios. But Obama has developed a pattern of simply lying to the American people and seemingly getting away with it, though I would argue people are starting to notice and his credibility is falling as a result.
So The Good News, Please!
In a refreshing exchange yesterday with ABC's Jonathan Karl, Jay Carney found himself in the position of having to defend Obama's unwillingness to negotiate on the debt ceiling. House Speaker John Boehner has an excellent video out today highlighting Obama's unwillingness to negotiate on the debt ceiling versus him tripping over himself to negotiate with Putin over the issue in Syria. Boehner rightly asks: Why is the Obama administration willing to negotiate with Putin on Syria but not with Congress to address Washington's spending problem? And where do the American people stand? Poll after poll show that a majority, or at least a plurality, of Americans are against raising the debt ceiling. Let's face it, big government has gotten entirely too big and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. At some point we are going to have to get serious about this problem or we will be forced to deal with it when it's likely too late to salvage. Obama was willing to listen to the American people on the issue of Syria, why wouldn't he listen to them on fiscal issues and domestic spending? I'm not holding my breath.