This government shutdown/debt ceiling political kabuki theater has sure been interesting, but it's about to come to a halt. In the end, as I told you from the beginning, the Republicans will cave (because they are losing in the public's eye), the debt ceiling will be raised (because it is ALWAYS raised and must be raised), the government will continue to spend, spend, spend us into oblivion (because that's what it's done for the last 60 years), and the next act in the kabuki play will open some months from now, when all the same partisan shriekers will do all the same partisan shrieking. Nothing much will change, and that's the real shame of it.
Contrary to President Obama's inaccurate claim that this debt ceiling drama is unprecedented, debt ceiling drama happens a lot. What's important is not the debt ceiling drama, but rather what has happened to the federal debt during past debt ceiling votes:
According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress voted 53 times from 1978 to 2013 to change the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling has increased to about $16 trillion from $752 billion.
I imagine most of you will immediately see the problem with all these debt ceiling increase votes, though some of my more myopic left-wing readers are probably too busy preparing their conservative-bashing responses to see it. My poor blogger pal, the Reverend, has taken to calling Republicans terrorist sleeper cells on his blog. I fear the poor fellow may have a breakdown over all this phony baloney political caterwauling. I'm working on providing some seeing-eye debt dogs for my blinded-by-ideology liberal friends, though I'm not sure if Obamacare will cover the costs. We'll have to Please Wait until we can access Healthcare.gov to find out what's in it, as Pelosi might say. I tried Healthcare.gov again yesterday, btw, and it's still no dice.
For the benefit of the blind, the problem with automatically raising the debt ceiling over and over again without any consideration of the, you know, SKYROCKETING DEBT, is that it leads to more SKYROCKETING DEBT. As I've asked before, what's the point of having a legislative debt ceiling if, as Sen. Harry Reid claims, it is the Congress' duty to raise it every time it's about to be exceeded ? I'm still waiting for an answer to my question, Democrats. Do any of you have one that doesn't involve snide references to Fox News, the Koch Brothers, or Rush Limbaugh ? That's all I've gotten from you so far. I'm starting to think you're retarded, or have Tourette's, or something. I'm sorry if you're offended, but you've brought this on yourselves with all your subterfuge.
The point is, Democrats and Republicans SHOULD be negotiating...to lower our deficits and debt in exchange for a debt ceiling increase. Anything else is the same Keynesian irresponsibility that got our country $17 trillion in debt to begin with. If I hear one more President say, either explicity or tacitly, that it's okay to run up debt during war or a recession, I think I'll go crazy myself. FYI - we are almost ALWAYS at war or in a recession, and half the time we're in both.
The semi-good news is that the Democrats and Republicans have begun negotiating now that we're only days from default. The bad news is, the Democrats are negotiating to REVERSE the budget cuts that were previously put in place during the Budget Control Act of 2011, aka, sequestration. From the Hill:
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, told [Sen. Susan] Collins (R-Me) on the Senate floor the [GOP] proposal was unacceptable because it would lock in federal spending for six months at the levels set by the House GOP, according to a source familiar with the conversation.
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