T Nation

GOP Raises National Debt Limit...


#1

I thought this deserved it's own thread.

For the fourth time since Bush took office, the Republican dominated Senate voted to raise the legal limit on our national debt, to just under 9 trillion dollars.

At this point everyone in America owes roughly 27,000 dollars towards the Federal debt... Every man, woman and child. With the raise in the debt ceiling, that amount is projected to grow to 30,000 dollars per person, next year.

Virtually every single Democrat in the Senate (the 44 Democrats are the minority) voted AGAINST raising the debt ceiling. Independant Jim Jeffords of Vermont voted against it, and so did 3 Republicans.

52 Republicans voted FOR it.

I've got a hunch that runaway spending in Congress will be a campaign issue in future elections, and with Republicans dominating Congress they will have some fast-talking to do. Budget pork does buy votes back home though. Voters want it both ways, they don't want to pay taxes but they want those outside tax dollars coming into their states.

Some pork projects can't be explained away, like the Alaskan so-called Bridge to Nowhere that was going to cost 230 million dollars to connect a small island in Alaska to the mainland (an island with a population of 50 people, who usually get back and forth by boat). With 230 million tax dollars, the federal government could have bought them all their own private jets. Most people know that the Bridge to Nowhere project was pulled from the federal budget after the public made a fuss. But Senator Stevens of Alaska shit a brick, and ALL OF THAT MONEY was quietly put back into the budget, only without the earmark that it's going to be used to build a bridge to that island. Instead, it's earmarked that Senator Stevens can use it for any state projects that he decides. What are the odds that he decides to use it to build a bridge???

I gotta admit it's funny to hear Republicans talking about how good the economy is doing. It gives me ideas...

Maybe I will get a bunch of new credit cards, and buy a new wardrobe, a new car, and a big new house. I'll just run it up on my credit card. Easy! Then I can go around town bragging about how well-off I am.

http://www.masslive.com/editorials/republican/index.ssf?/base/news-0/114267137414650.xml&coll=1


#2

This article breaks it down and is easy to understand:


#3

Q: What is owed to foreigners?

A: "...As recently as 1970, foreigners owned only 5% of the debt held by the public... By 2005, foreigners had increased their share to 45%..."

Q: Does the debt cost us?

A: "...In 2005, interest on the debt was $184 billion, which made it the fifth biggest item in the federal budget, behind defense, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."

Can you realistically think this happened by accident?

Have fun.


#4

(in case you can't read it)

Q: What will the Republicans be running on in November?

"The Democrats are completely ineffective at preventing us from overspending"


#5

Got to keep the war machine rolling...

He calls for sacrifice from average Americans, then cuts their taxes during a war. And then raises the debt limit....

My generation will pay for this for a long, long time.


#6

Sadly, I have to agree with Irish. This is what happens when people want to spend more than they've earned.

Always easy to live like a millionaire when you think someone else will pick up the tab.

Sidenote: What if they don't pick up the tab?


#7

yeah...

what if they can't pick up the tab?

I think that the American public is unrealistic in their expectations for tax breaks and running a war at the same time...

any politician with a platform of higher taxes is most likely un-electable...

is the country headed for financial ruin?


#8

Thank god those tax-and-spend Democrats aren't in office and we have fiscally responsible, small-government Republicans in charge!


#9

Funny how the good parts get cut out:

Q: What is owed to foreigners?

U.S. Treasury obligations are viewed as one of the safest investments in the world. Lured by the stability of the U.S. economy, foreign governments, banks, companies and individuals have sharply increased their U.S. debt holdings. As recently as 1970, foreigners owned only 5% of the debt held by the public ? that's the portion of the debt that doesn't include the amount the government owes itself, in the form of IOUs to entities such as the Social Security trust fund. By 2005, foreigners had increased their share to 45%.

I'm not necessarily agreeing with all of the spending, but it's unsettling the knee-jerk reaction the phrase 'raising the national debt' gets. The majority of people I know/knew reacted the exact same way when Bush Sr. and Clinton did it. Read the article, like a mortgage, a $6T loan with $184B interest payment is a nice 3% rate. Especially, if the money you borrow earns at a rate greater than ~3%. This is investment people. I would expect someone as blue-collar pro-union as FightinIrish to overlook this :), but he's not the only one.

FightinIrish, you say 'got to keep the war machine going', the Iraq war has cost (according to Kerry) $200B, that's, once again, ~3%. Could/should the $200B be less? Yes. Is the debt increase related to the war? Only 3%, the other 97% obiously, accounts for a lot more. And, if (I know, big if.) we generate a stable economy and trade base with an emerging democracy in the Middle East, what's that worth?

Headhunter, why wouldn't they pick up the tab? Put in a dollar and get back a dollar and some change, hell yeah! When a horse is as far out in front as the US is, and works as hard as the US does/has. It's usually a good idea to put some money on it.

Harris447, I prefer having my pockets full of money and my government's empty over the alternative any day of the week.

Brad61, you presented this as a partisan issue, and you are somewhat correct, but it's interesting that people like John McCain and Chuck Hagel, and others who aren't necessarily in lock-step with the administration think this is a good idea as well. IMO, makes it seem less like partisanship and more like the appropriate decision was made in the appropriate way.


#10

So, I am assuming you are one of the top 1% of money-earners that the Bush tax-cuts helped?


#11

This is a very strong argument for the line-item veto.

Or, at the very least, the reinstitution by the President, or by Congress, of the old executive authority to simply not spend money Congress had passed for spending.

Congress passed a law to remove that authority when Nixon was in his disgraced, pre-resignation period, knowing he did not have the political strength to fight it. Congress, controlled at that time by the Dems, was very pissed that Nixon was refusing to spend all the money in the budget that they passed above what he had requested. It has never been challenged in the USSC.


#12

It showed up in my paycheck and I spent its entirety on a cup of coffee (not the expensive Starbucks kind either). I'm not saying Bush is the ultimate iteration of the Republican ideal, but I'm far better off financially than my parents, my retirement will be better, and my children will have more opportunities in life than I will because of my (and my parents) ability to manage my (our) own money. Besides, when you really look at it, what choice did I have?


#13

The Republican Congress and Bush are like two peas in a pod. With maybe a couple of exceptions, over the past 5 years the Republican Congress has given Bush exactly what he wanted (and vice versa).

Your comment makes it seem as if the Republican-dominated Congress and Bush are at odds in some way... they are not, they are best buddies with one hand washing the other.

If Bush was actually unhappy with spending he could send a bill back to Congress for revision. The fact is that Bush hasn't vetoed a single spending bill, the first time in history that a president has green-lighted Congress in this way.

Bush could reign in spending if he wanted to. He already has that power without the line item veto. Other presidents have been able to control spending, for some reason Bush won't do it. I think it's because pork spending wins votes at home. The GOP is more concerned with winning elections than they are in fiscal responsibility.


#14

Well yes, it's not a good idea for the USA to default on it's debts. The debt ceiling is just a way to point out the runaway spending, which is happening on Republicans' watch. The national debt under Bush has increased at a faster rate, than any other president.


#15

Well, you had the choice between a semi-literate Faulknerian man-boy told what to do by his daddy's friends who is seemingly intent on tearing down the Bill of Rights and every safety net known to American society...

...or (shudder) a Democrat!

Whoo! Good call, man.


#16

I sadly have to agree with this. The conservative idea of small government seems to be dying out, replaced by a Bush entitlement program that simply gives government money (our money) to different people than the Democrats choose to. If Bush wanted to rein in spending, he could threaten to veto things like the pork-laden energy and highway bills, but he doesn't. Reagan did that many times. That's the difference between a conservative and a big government Republican.


#17

So are you advocating slashing government spending for entitlements which make up the bulk of the budget? I am unclear here -- if the Democrats were in office do you think the debt would go down? Would the Democrats cut any spending except miliatary spending that would weaken us once again, ala Jimmy Carter or Slick Willy Clinton?

If you are for reducing the buget and federal spending across the board while keeping us militarily secure -- I am all for it.

But I suspect this is really a red herring to once again just bash Bush.


#18

Not quite. You have the differences in priorities between the executive and the legislature. Each legislator wants his little pork projects -- well, perhaps not each legislator, but most of them. The President wants his overall spending bill, or overall whatever bill.

Once again, no -- and differences in priorties. Bush isn't going to veto a bill that he had to twist arms to get passed -- particularly w/r/t the Senate, where there is a Republican majority but by no means a conservative majority (or a filibuster-proof majority). So the riders are piled on, and the bill is signed. Bush is spending his political capital on the war, and has spent it on his big-ticket policy ideas (when they worked -- poor Social Security reform...).

Again, see above. Bush can't rein in spending without vetoing whole bills, while Congress puts spending riders on bills that are totally unrelated -- or a plethora of little riders on bills with a huge priority, such as bills for funding Iraq. Those aren't going to get vetoed over quibbles on spending.

Bush needs to re-assert his Constitutional authority not to spend authorized money -- or perhaps the line-item veto needs to be revisited.

BTW, please don't try to make it out like the GOP is a party of big spenders but the Democrats would show utmost spending restraint. Generally when the Dems have been critical of overspending by this Congress, i.e. the prescription drug benefit or "No Child Left Behind," they criticize them for not being funded well enough...


#19

"BTW, please don't try to make it out like the GOP is a party of big spenders but the Democrats would show utmost spending restraint. Generally when the Dems have been critical of overspending by this Congress, i.e. the prescription drug benefit or "No Child Left Behind," they criticize them for not being funded well enough..."

Good point BB and well worth repeating.


#20

Any idea how much of the future debt will be due to entitlements like the old Dem fav Social Security? It's broke, and getting broker - and there is no way to stop that or Medicare from breaking everyone - to the tune of OVER 50% of our budget.

But it's all the Republican's fault.