Since 1978, the debt ceiling has been raised 55 times, and in over 1/2 of those legislative struggles, there was no clean bill sent forward. In my opinion, debt ceiling votes are an opportunity to manipulate the legislative agenda by Senate and President. In 1984, the Democrats voted to prevent the debt ceiling from being raised. At that time, the Democrats said they would not let Republicans walk away from their debt. In 1984, the debt was a mere 1.8 trillion, compared to the current nearly 17 trillion.
Debt ceiling votes are used for both political theater and getting partisan projects passed under the threat of shutting down the government. For example, in 1989, the Democratic controlled Congress raised the debt ceiling and eliminated a tax credit for employer funded health insurance.
It is called legislating through appropriation. It is part of the legislative process. It is also constitutional. It is a strategy that is used only to invoke moral outrage when a party’s sacred cow is being sacrificed in the struggle.
Using appropriations to make policy is a time-honored tradition. In 1982, the Reagan administration’s policies in Nicaragua by preventing both the military and the CIA from using their funding to supply arms to the Contras was blocked by Congress.
Not raising the debt ceiling is irresponsible per Obama. However, in 2006 when President Bush asked to increase the debt ceiling, Obama militated against raising the debt ceiling, calling the need to do so a failure of leadership and the creation of an enormous burden for our children. To show his disapproval, Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling. Obama is now admitting that he his a failure since he is requesting a debt ceiling raise.
Granted, while failure to raise the debt ceiling will have consequences in the financial markets and among the rating services, the continuing cycle of debt and spending, in the long term, is an even greater threat to the viability and structure of the economy. Heck, we are now 17 trillion in debt!
Just about all the rating agencies are calling for a lowering of the national debt relative to the nation’s economic output. The Chinese express concern that if the debt ceiling itself is not raised by October 17, it will seriously affect the security of their investments in the United States. On the other hand, the Japanese are upset that the debt ceiling issue weakens the dollar and strengthens the yen as a residual safe currency. Japan’s economy is dependent on exports and a strong yen and a weak dollar are the opposite of what the Japanese want.
If the debt ceiling is not raised, the capital markets will be shut down. Banks will not lend to each other and GE credit will close its windows. There will be a fevered rush by economic elites to keep things going, to enable airlines to fly, gas to be pumped, and bank depositors to be paid.
Averting that crisis is the real issue and needs to be addressed now! That issue is more important than the short-term debt ceiling and forcing a health care program on Americans that they do not want and that appears not to be workable. Legislating through appropriation is fine, however, it does not give one branch of government too much power.
We can fix the problem by doing two things now:
1. The federal politicians should not be paid until a debt ceiling comprise is reached. Heck, those CROOKS make enough money and fail to do their jobs!
2. The debt ceiling raise should NEVER be raise. Thus, the federal politicians would learn to NOT spend money beyond their means. Until this program, if the federal politicians want to spend money above the debt ceiling, then deduct the difference from their pay.
In the meantime, the shutdown raises profound questions as to whether any administration can be trusted not to play politics with the nation’s spending and whether or not we have too many government employees. We have MORE non-essential employees than essential. That alone should tell you something! Heck, the EPA has 16,000 employees, by less than 7% (1100) are essential! Obama takes advantage of the shutdown and so may future presidents (although I doubt it since Obama hates America) may shut down of open-air memorials, the Bay of Biscayne, and the Grand Canyon, all of which were unnecessary, show a cynical attempt to spend money during the shutdown to inflict pain on the public. In addition, the evictions of people who receive no federal services but whose homes sit on federal lands, show such callousness that Commentary magazine suggested that the administration show some consistency by evicting Michelle Obama’s mother from the White House or that the White House also sits on federal land and thus Obama and his family need to go also per Obama’s actions!
Politics is the art of compromise and conciliation What is happening in Washington D.C. is legislation by appropriation. Legislation by appropriation is not unprecedented like Obama would like you to believe. It simply requires negotiations to begin!