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  • Morning Bell: No Debt Ceiling Raise Without Spending Cuts

    On March 16, 2006, when our national debt stood at $8.27 trillion, a young Senator from Illinois announced his intention to vote against raising our nation’s debt ceiling to $9 trillion, explaining:

    The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.

    That Senator, of course, was Barack Obama. But now that President Obama is the leader, and now that our national debt stands at $14.01 trillion (a more than 70 percent increase from 2006), he is singing a different tune. His Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, sent a letter to Congress last week claiming that unless they raised the debt ceiling by “the end of the first quarter of 2011,” the “full faith and credit of the United States” would be “called into question” and there would be “catastrophic damage to the economy.”

    This is, of course, completely false. The United States government will not default on its debt. Federal taxes will still be collected by the Treasury, from which interest and principal on the debt should be paid. The creditworthiness of the U.S. is not in danger. Just look at history. In the fall of 1995 the federal government reached its $4.9 trillion debt ceiling. Congress refused to raise it. The world did not end. Instead, Treasury took several measures during the period to raise funds to meet federal obligations without exceeding the debt ceiling. In March 1996, the debt ceiling was raised to $5.5 trillion. Was, as Geithner warns, the “full faith and credit of the United States …. called into question”? No. Was there “catastrophic damage to the economy”? No.

    The Obama administration is creating a rushed atmosphere, but Members of Congress have time for full consideration and deliberation before making a decision on the debt limit and necessary spending cuts. Gross federal debt has reached $14 trillion. Ongoing deficit spending (projected at $1.4 trillion for 2011) means the ceiling of $14.29 trillion will initially be reached around mid-March. Treasury’s traditional financial toolbox and revenue surges in April and June should delay the final moment of reckoning to mid-May and possibly as late as July. There is time to take the correct actions on behalf of the American people.

    The 112th Congress should remember these facts and refuse to be rushed by Obama Administration scare tactics on the debt ceiling issue.

    So what should conservatives in the 112th Congress do about the debt ceiling? They must demand real, immediate, and significant cuts to federal spending. Any increase in the debt ceiling should be accompanied by immediate, substantial spending reductions. The Heritage Foundation’s Brian Riedl has identified $343 billion in cuts here. But even this is not enough. We also need strong new rules such as hard spending caps to require continued, sharp spending reduction in future years—thus putting the budget squarely on a path to fiscal responsibility through lower spending, taxes, and borrowing. Any increase to the debt ceiling without both immediate and long-term spending cuts is completely unacceptable.

    Just yesterday, The Heritage Foundation released the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom which showed that the irresponsible spending habits of the last Congress had once again pushed the United States down the international ranking to #9, behind nations such as Denmark, Canada and first-place Hong Kong. The Index showed that runaway spending posed the greatest risk to our economic freedom, and thus our ability to reduce poverty and create economic growth. The U.S. can turn things around and continue to be a leader of this prosperous free world, but first we have to get our own bad spending habits under control. The debate over the debt ceiling provides the perfect opportunity to put us on this path.

    We have time, there are options available, but action is necessary. Raising the debt ceiling, without also addressing our federal government’s spending problem, would be, as one Senator once said, “a sign of leadership failure.”

    Quick Hits:

    • At the memorial service in Tucson, President Barack Obama deliberately rejected any link between conservative rhetoric and the shooting and added, “What we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another.”
    • The lame duck Democratic Illinois legislature passed a 67 percent increase in the state income tax that will add $1,040 to the tax bill of a family of four earning $60,000 a year.
    • Taxpayers are unlikely to recover their $50 billion bailout of GM, according to a new federal panel report.
    • Banks seized more than a million U.S. homes last year, an all-time record.
    • The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled yesterday that the EPA can regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in Texas.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    51 Responses to Morning Bell: No Debt Ceiling Raise Without Spending Cuts

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Cut Spending – YES!

      Raise the debt ceiling? – Huhhhh? Why is this being debated?

      How much debt is permanent debt? Tax receipts seem to have a cap at $2.5 trillion in the post 9/11 limited growth economy. It will take roughly a trillion a year to pay the interest an principal for the next couple generations to pay off what we have now. We have already spent our grandchildren's tax money the feds will collect from them. More debt means more generations we rob from. The federal government has a cap on spending to 1.5 trillion. They need to adhere to that level and cut the rest. This budget constraints means that for the next two generations, we cannot afford to cut taxes which is desperately needed to spark the economy. To do that necessary step the feds will need to cut even more!

    2. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      Dear Mr. HF -

      You Forgot to say

      WHAT TO CUT.

      One thing the HF – seldom does it – HOW?

      They say – We MUST do this and that,

      but seldom SAY How or What.

      How or What?

      • Brandon Stewart Brandon Stewart says:

        Ken: It's hard to believe you read today's Morning Bell and missed the many references to cuts/reforms that must be made, the link to a paper with over $343 Billion in specific cuts, or any of the countless other blogs that we have published here on the Foundry on entitlement reform (many of which you have a probably commented upon).

    3. Mardi Dixon, Tulsa says:

      PLEASE stop the spending. This is totally out of hand. Wake up, America, or we are going to be in the soup.

    4. West Texan says:

      The federal congress is headed in the wrong direction. If anything, they should be paying down our country's debt followed by a reduction in their credit limit. Where is Dave Ramsey when the nation needs him most? Geithner would surely benefit by heeding Ramsey's advice.

    5. West Texan says:

      PS: Congress needs to return federal government to its primary role of national defense and get out of the social engineering and public entitlement business. For over a century now, they've completely corrupted our dual sovereignty as carefully laid out by our country's founders. Constitutional amendments that increase centralized powers should be blocked or repealed. Only those amendments promoting the union's general welfare, like preserving the rights individuals and states, should be maintained or added.

    6. Sandy, UT says:

      One way to cut spending is to slash the pay of congressional leaders by two thirds. Why do 'THEY' the employees (elected congressional leaders) make more than three times as much as the employers ? (US taxpayer)

      Also included in the pay cut would be the special health benefits available only to those in congress. If 'THEY' want retirement then 'THEY' can pay into social security like the rest of us. Any pay raises 'THEY' want must be put to a NATIONAL vote.

    7. Mary............WI says:

      I am definitley for NOT raising the debt ceiling and FOR cutting spending to get this country back on track. Replace Geithner because I doubt he knows what he's doing.

      Replace Obama in 2012 because he doesn't know what he's doing either…..he relies on his "czars" to decide everything……such a lack of knowledge. courage, backbone.

    8. James Michael Tierra says:

      stop spending that was the meassage sent last november/ we need to stop this madness now do not raise the the limit lets start protecting your kids and grandkids from future insanity/ if the new members of congress vote to raise the ceiling then we will vote them out along with every member who goes along with it/ the doomday message is false and you know it the goverment does not have a cash flow problem they have a spending problem lets start with the epa and dept. of education along with the dept. of enery / how many 100s of billions of dollars went down those rat wholes / lets take spending back to 2005 and work from there /

    9. Harry Snyder Tempera says:

      It is frightening to see an administration deliberately spend hundreds of billions of dollars (on what?) putting the country on a road towards insolvency, national peril, if not bankruptcy.

    10. BETTY LINAWEAVER says:





    11. Jim Delaney, Rochest says:

      For the past four painful years, the Democratic Socialist Party's "rushed atmosphere" has been more akin to an all out war, a merciless blitzkrieg to be more precise. It's time to halt the madness and repel the legislative rape and pillage of America. Heritage is right on again!

    12. Ken Allison, Tyler says:

      One of the major contributing factors regarding the problem of unrestrained federal spending is that the language involved has become so distorted (intentionally, imo). Only in Washington could proposed reductions in the rate of growth be called "cuts". So that if a program has historically grown an average of 5%/year a reduction to 4%/year GROWTH would be termed a "cut". It is madness but continues to be perpetrated by politicians of both parties and the msm. Under these conditions we need more than "cuts", we need unequivocal reductions in the number of FRN's expended.

    13. BETTY LINAWEAVER says:

      If the real responsible people in Government would just use common sense, we could lick problelm right now. I think we first have to start drilling, mining and building nuclear.

      then go through and just look at A, B, C's of every Government Agency and get rid of half of them. ( I actually believe this could be done.) Just get on line and look at the list!

      Get rid of the public unions. They should not be in our Government anyway.

      Go through every program and cut the waste, fraud and abuse.

      Get rid of all of the job killing regulations.

      Find us a strong common sense conservative that aspouses these proposals and me and a whole lot of others would run to the polls to vote for them.

    14. ThomNJ says:

      I am flat-out opposed to a raise in the debt ceiling even if accompanied by substantial cuts – this just ensures that somewhere down the road, the Congress will spend more yet again. Just make the cuts – I agree with West Texan's second comment.

      I would also suggest the return to the State's legislature the election of Senators. I'd also like to see the individual states pay their Congressmen and women and Senators. I know that mine (a couple of them have said so) think they are FEDERAL employees, because the federal government pays them. I say the individual states ought to be paying their citizens' EMPLOYEES and NOT the federal taxpayer. Maybe if we started allocating money a bit more restrictively, we could start making the Congress more beholden to the wishes of those that elected them.

      Too many of these yahoos seem to love to say they serve the people of the USA, when in fact, they serve those that elected them first, and then the rest of the USA.

    15. Kimo Maher Quitman T says:

      I think that one way to cut spending, is trim the saleries of the Law makers. They are Excessive.

    16. John in Dryden, MI says:

      How about 'auto-increase' for interest on our debt, preventing the dreaded 'default' but not for any congressional spending.

    17. Lauren Stahl says:

      One trade off to consider in the debate of raising of the debt ceiling would be an exchange for a balance budget amendment including legislation that disallows the Fed to print money to cover government spending. It would resemble what the states must do. It would be a bold new day if politicians must tax the people directly for the spending they wish to impose whether it is for social programs or for war…I believe the American people would be want neither when the true costs are revealed and taxation would look more like 100% of income. Our treasury should be "coining" money, not central bankers according to the constitution. I know, I know, wishful thinking…

    18. George (Oldguy), Wes says:

      What to cut? For a start:

      * all departments and agencies not covered by enumerated powers.

      * Federally owned or controlled lands returned to the States.

      * Michelle Obama's staff.

      * reduce Federal employee's salary * benefits to mirror civilian rates

      * Barack's Czars

      * Military bases in Europe.

      * Congressional travel.

      * the 10 % legislated annual budget increase.

      * Foreign aid

      * Aid to foreign banks.

      What have I missed?

    19. Alan says:

      Congress cannot do anything meaningful unless we are vocal in our expectations of this body. Just how much do we expect our government to do? Where did we forget that government's job is governance and not that as a caretaker or a philanthropy? We have permitted ourselves to be cowed by the accusations of callousness when we question the level of spending in the name of social services. When do we assert we have the ability to take care of ourselves and can separate our wants from needs without demanding the government take from our neighbors to satisfy one or the other? The failure of our government in its basic responsibilities is reflective our our failure in carrying our our basic responsibilities.

    20. DonInAtlanta says:

      Didn't this tactic work for the run up to the war in Iraq?

    21. tom rankin 70380 says:

      Raising the debt ceiling for any reason is “a sign of leadership failure.”

      Break the Monopoly! Support HR 4248, the Free Competition in Currency Act

      (Google HR-4248)

      Make the Constitution Legal Again!

    22. Barbara, LA says:

      I have always believed that decisions made in haste will not work out. Whenever Obama wants something, he says it MUST be done IMMEDIATELY to avoid disaster….and because decisions/votes have been done quickly, that is what we have now…disaster.

    23. Jerry Park, Nebraska says:

      I fail to see why with spending cuts, it would be OK to raise the debt ceiling. Looks to me like the debt ceiling should be frozen where it is now and eventually reduced. Period. Wouldn't that force spending cuts to follow.

    24. Doug Whaley, Lake Ha says:

      My guess is the republicans don't have the guts to do any real permanent cutting so you will see them with an initial cut of a couple hundred billion that they can brag about into the next election but that will be the end of it. There will be no lasting cuts because of this countries addiction to handouts from the federal government. The republicans track record when you get right down to it isn't much better than the democrats. They have the spending sickness just like democrats do. Real meaningful cuts would include eliminating departments like education, energy and eliminating programs like ethanol give aways. They also should drastically reduce the Bureau of Land Management down to basically nothing as that is basically what they do. However, republicans are too weak to do this. So our failed government will continue to fail under republicans.

    25. Roger TN says:

      So its your position that we can not borrow (increase the national debt) and spend (Keynsian Theroy) our way out of this?? Illinois thinks differently, don't they? Stay clear to the Interstates over the next few years, they will be overloaded with outbound traffic. Too bad we don't have more Texas, Tennessee and Florida's to go to. ALL states should have a balanced budget ammendment (no exclusions) and as with my state, any spending bill that goes forward can only have one subject by Constitution (no PORK). Hey, that may even work for the Feds.

      As to where to cut. Start with 10% across the board for all remaining agencies after eliminating the failing entities listed at: ExpectMore.gov This is a listing of failing agencies as reported by a government group. Then go for all redundant agencies and those duplicated by new regulation due to issues with existing agencies. 50% cuts worked in 1922.

    26. Frank, Maryland says:

      We keep trying not to pay for our actions. The government is out of control, if you think giving more candy to a fat person is going to put him on a diet you are wrong. Have the fat person have the heart attack. It is the only way to make him realize what he is doing. Just hope he heeds the warning before there is not a way to save him. Which is exactly where we are going. Do not raise the debt ceiling cut the government spending, America grow up. Frank

    27. David Epstein, CA says:

      Talk about the deficit is so much chin music unless the cost of imperial overreach–the national security state–is addressed. After the Soviet Union collapsed, we failed to adjust our national strategy to reflect the new reality, and have continually been in search of new enemies.

      The GOP, in supporting tax cuts and excessive military spending while decrying deficits and the growth of federal power, is intellectually inconsistent and politically irresponsible.

    28. B. Hall Syosset N.Y. says:

      This is for Ken Jarvis. Some suggestions on what to cut. These are in no specific order. The DOE {dept of education} School scores have fallen since it was instuted. All Federal employees a 25 % pay cut. All Congressmen A 25% cut in pay. It's called public service not public enrichment Both Freddie and Fanny should be run like a business not a slush fund. At least 50% of the socalled Czars and their staff should be fired. Obamacare repealed. Federal employees union pensions cut by 25%. Repeal the 16 th amendment and replace it with a fair tax or flat tax and fire al least 50% of IRS staff.. Have all so called earmarks be subject to congressional up or down votes. These are just a few suggestions. By the way I do not include the Millitary in federal pay cuts,they should fet pay raises for their service.

    29. Elaine says:

      No increase of the debt ceiling. Start reducing the debt by eliminating a few of the government spending of the bills passed last year against the will of the people. Next eliminate a few government agencies that do nothing but interfere with business…such as the dept of energy. The government is the only business that does not look at cutting the unproductive first there is tremendous spending that can and should be totally eliminated. Creating govenment jobs is not productive but very expensive and that is where spending cuts should begin. Do not begin with cuts to the military benefits, social security, medicare, medicaid designed to draw cries from the people and do little to reduce the real problem of bloated government. Yes this will increase unemployment, but they will be free to find productive jobs that are not paracitic.

    30. William, MI says:

      The answer is do NOT raise the debt ceiling.

      STOP and DISMANTLE is the only ACTION that will help America.

      Article I Section 8 of the United States Constitution outlines the duties of the Federal Government. This sections main purpose is to identify what is needed to be centralized to be a free nation and ensure the federal government does not become too big and powerful. The Federal government has long since breached this section of the constitution and needs to be reduced to its intended purpose.

    31. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Bravo! Bravo! Well done, and well said.

    32. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      When BHO was sworn in he vowed to go through each department of the goverment "Page by page, line by line" and eliminate all the waste. Her e are 2 years later and not one agency has had a full blown audit. I am not in favor of salary cuts for the average gov't. employee, instead, freeze the hiring and look to early buy-outs., Do the audits, starting with the White house staffing, make sure BHO pays for all personal use of "Air force One" and Marine One (chopper). Congress should roll their salaries back to 2000, getting rid of unions in public servce should also be carried out, the employees coulduse the money they pay in Union dues in place of the raise. I am not sure if it was leagal for Pelosi to use an AF plane, maybe she should pay back that money, she can afford it. There are agencies not approved by congress and ratified by the sates, these should automatically be eliminated, give the States back control over schools and I think it's a great idea for the states to assume pay for their Congree people. Again start at the top, the White House first, then work down in reference to the importance of the agency, most important first. The only one who's budget should not be cut is Defense, they can thin out the people in the Pentegon but then that money should be to shore up our borders and troop equiptment. Early buy outs are essential.

    33. Jim Delaney, Rochest says:

      Sadly, my instincts tell me that the establishment and rank and file GOPers will lack the foresight, political courage and integrity to reject raising the debt ceiling. Freshmen Tea Party members and other principled conservative reps can only do so much to restore constitutional order, common sense and public trust in Washington.

      If our "reps" fail to do the right thing, then what recourse is left to us? Slavishly roll over yet again with our usual sigh of resignation? Among Americans, that timid default reaction is wearing increasingly thin….

    34. James P. Smith, Sr, says:

      This is a very good article. In particular, the link to the paper by Brian Riedl which identifies specific cuts that can be made to save $343 billion is a premier work.

      However, I believe there is more that could be done:

      - In my perusal of the table in Mr Riedl's article I saw no mention of the FCC. In my view, this Commission's budget should be halved. Obviously there are too many unemployed on the FCC payroll, since they have time to rewrite and reinterpret laws without consultation with Congress, thus doing the administration's mischievous attempts at potentially limiting free internet access, the possibility of restricting talk radio's criticism of administration policies, etc.

      - While there is mention of repealing Obamacare, it is not clear to me that this will, for example, result in elimination of the IRS jobs intended to police compliance with the dictates of the law. I believe the number of such jobs added to the federal payroll is 1500, though this number is from memory and could be inexact.

      - The budget of the EPA should also be halved, in my view. Mr Riedl addresses a cut in an EPA activity but, as with the FCC, there appears to be an excess of 'unemployed on the payroll' of the EPA.

      It is my hope that Mr Riedl will update his excellent paper.

    35. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Is this the same $300+ billion Michelle Bachman mentioned? I remember when these so called "debt ceilings" began and the pain was automatic then, cross the board cuts for every Department. I read your cuts under the blue 'here' button (No, Ken the troll, it isn't true HF never says how!) I liked the figures very much. The bigger point is the Private Sector will grow us out of trouble, if, and it is a big 'if' the crazy overbloated Federal Government can be made to get out of the way. It would do no harm whatsoever to not raise the Debt Ceiling, but the real ceiling exists and that isn't a matter of opinion, that is real consequences. If we lose our AAA rating, the Interest Rate Increase alone would push America past our tipping point, unpayable debt.

      Look at Illinois! Let them go bankrupt! That way the bad Pension and Labor Agreements can be nullified in Court! I'd argue they were corrupt and illegal in the first place, you cannot bind another Congress. It really is crazy unlawful for the 111th Congress to spend what is the 112th's specific power. Relatively small cuts now will obviate massive cuts later on. I want the House to get mean with the Administration, I sure don't want 'bipartisanship!' I don't want the rhetoric to cool off! You don't cooperate with dictatorship, communism. Stop them! They are destroying the Nation!

    36. Tom K Houston,Tx. says:


    37. D. Irvin, Bakersfiel says:

      Let's ask one of our new congressmen/women read that statement into the congressional record once again, and ask the question: Where is our leadership today?

    38. Tommy, Arizona says:

      I'm an independent voter because I refuse to push any parties rhetoric. We definitely need to reduce our spending and for the first time in my 60 years, I'm seeing a little positive change. The TEA party is middle class America and they have awoken. Boy, are they pissed! They align themselves mostly with the republicans but their ready to kick their butts too if they don't shape up. I'm a bit nervous about not raising the debt limit. If you slam on the brakes the kids bounce off the dashboard. Let's reduce spending and then lower the debt limit. The republicans have had control of the House for less than a month. Let's remember that little thing called "unintended consequences". Do I want to stop federal spending and the unconstitutional expansion of the federal government? Damn right I do! But let's do it in the most responsible, least painful way possible.

    39. Edward Kimble, 46725 says:

      Feet to the fire gentlemen and ladies.

    40. Florence, Upstate Ne says:

      The last statement: a sign of leadership failure – very appropriate.

    41. Scott Carver says:

      I read through the list of reductions, and don't think it goes far enough in many cases. We need to completely defund Obamacare and tear down the support structure that it has created. We need to eliminate a vast number of these Government Alphabet Agencies, such as the EPA, TSA, USDA, DoE(education), etc. We need to eliminate the "Zairs" and thier agencies. We need to repeal and eliminate a vast number of "feel good" laws that are expenseive, ineffective, and unconstitutional; such as AWA and SORNA.

      But the most important thing we need is some common sense. We need Congress to operate the business of our Government like, well, a business. With an eye toward fiscal responsibility and debt managment.

    42. George (Oldguy), Wes says:

      Don't Raise the debt limit. Eliminate the EPA and all the regulations they have imposed… the States can manage their own environments. Eliminate the Dept. of Energy they have failed to make us energy independent since the 1970's. Purge the books of their regulations and unfunded mandates.

      Small change items…reduce Michelle's staff to 1 or 2 people paid at going private rates. Eliminate any czar that was not approved by the Legislature.

      Eliminate the phrase ' and for other purposes' from all legislation! I believe that will cut down or eliminate earmarks.

      Just for fun, lets wait until the bills are complete with all the legislative language and read before making them the law of the land!

    43. Robert Wilson, Retir says:

      In 2011, the Federal Government is expected to raise about $2.1 trillion in revenue from all sources. Interest payments on the current $14.1 trillion in Federal debt should cost at least $500 billion in 2011. With a $1.5 trillion Federal deficit expected in 2011, this means that Congress should be cutting Federal expenditures in 2011 by at least $2 trillion. Instead, GOP members in Congress are proposing "scary " cuts in spending ranging from $100 billion to $350 billion. This is like trying to raise the tide by spitting in the ocean.

    44. drybackinpi, Texas says:

      Is there some reason "The full faith and credit of the United States" should not be called into question?. Does anyone out there think the government 'experts' are doing a bang up job? How many of our elected officials have a clue as to how to revive the economy? We are all too stupid, I've heard it said…

    45. laurie, Hawaii says:

      George, your list is good. How about adding all the free stuff everyone gets who hops over the border. Hey, I am 67 years old and can't stand my medicare….I don't use it because it's so bad. Most ethical doctors will not take it……the amount medicare approves for different procedures is a joke. So, we are paying cash for medical bills to the doctors and it turns out to be less out of pocket. DROP MEDICARE AND MEDICAID. It's useless. Drop the freebies for the druggies, who claim they are "disabled." Stop the free legal aid….it is a scam for the milkers in the society who want to steal from the honest people. STOP THE HIGH SALARIES AND THE 21 MAIDS FOR THE FIRST 'USER' 'LADY', STOP THE PRIVATE JETS FOR CONGRESS, CUT THEIR SALARIES, MAKE THEM LIVE ON WHAT THE REST OF US WORKHORSES ARE LIVING ON….SAME RULES. STOP IT ALL EXCEPT DEFENSE (and cut back on that….there is a ton of waste.) To understand the number, trillion. I did the math and found that to get one trillion minutes in my lifetime I would need to live 18,000 years!!!! This is paper monopoly bathroom tissue we are dealing with…..the fake IOU's are the so-called "american dollars." They will soon be useless. STOP PRINTING!!!!!. STOP SPENDING111 STOP PLAYING SANTA CLAUS WITH IOU'S. CHINA WILL COME AND ENSLAVE US ALL…..TAKE EVERYTHING FROM US.

    46. Mike, Chicago says:

      This message is for Ken Jarvis. Cut public aid. Too many people, mostly obama supporters, are either on or support public aid. It is unnecessary, excessive, and discriminatory. End it now except the truly infirmed, get rid of the earned income tax credit and we would put a huge dent in the debt.

    47. Dr. Henry D. Sinopol says:

      As long as you entertain the same politicians, career takers, either Republican or Democrats…you will get the same results. We have created a 'royalty' status for life-time politicians and they will not leave. If you want to solve Social Security…make them join. It will be fixed the next day…

    48. Ron, Albuquerque says:

      Rushing is not a good thing for an item of this importance. Kicking it down the street beyond the term of the current Congress and Presidency is also not acceptable.

      How about we pass an increase sufficient for about 6 months of current spending so we don't shoot ourself in the foot. During that 6 months both sides of the aisle will need to play together nicely. If they and the President an play nicely, they will be able to stretch the 6 months.

      If they can't play nicely, all participants are exposed as failed leaders, and have to come back to the table trying to justify raising the ceiling.

    49. Trevor, Horseshoe Ba says:

      You state, "…the United States Constitution requires the government to pay interest and principal on the debt first."

      I hope you are correct, but I can't find that anywhere in The Constitution. Please cite where this is required.


    50. Rich Pierson says:

      I very much enjoyed reading Brian's article and commend him for printing it. There was one typo. The headline shows savings of $343 Billion. The sub-total at the bottom shows $343 Million.

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