Debt Ceiling

I hear that John Boehner has decided that the GOP position on agreeing to raise the debt limit is that first there must be spending cuts of up to $2 trillion. Kevin Drum has a take on that. But when I heard the story this morning on NPR during my drive into work, something slightly different came to mind.

So here’s how it came across in the story this morning. Boehner acknowledges that raising the debt limit is an absolute must. It’d be catastrophic if the U.S. defaulted on its debt. So coming from that “it’s vital we do something” position, he says he’s willing to put everything on the table in the negotiations, as long as everything means all the things that the GOP wants and none of the things that the GOP doesn’t want. Because see, Mr. Boehner also made clear that tax increases would be off the table. And that’s completely understandable after all. This is another one of those existential problems. Big problems. Huge. We must do something about this (are you listening Wall Street, because I’m not really going to blow up the government just to appease the Tea Party). And U.S. debt comes as a result of spending exceeding revenue (unless I’ve missed something along the way). So there are actually two ways to lessen or eliminate the debt. Decrease spending or increase revenue. As a general rule, GOPers favor only spending cuts and no tax increases. The Dems, on the other hand, are looking at a combination of both. So how serious are the GOP about this extremely dire situation? So serious that they’re willing to consider all of the options that just happen to be in their platform and none of the options that aren’t in their platform. This is serious and don’t forget courageous stuff.

Reminds me of days gone by. Where the Republicans found another existential threat in the world. They started a war against that threat. Ran up spending like you wouldn’t believe (except you would of course ’cause they actually did do this). You know this existential threat called for some shared sacrifice from everybody in the country. Well, except for those with lots of money, because these poor put upon people couldn’t be called upon to pay a penny more for this increase in government spending. No, actually they needed to pay a lot, lot less. So the Republicans managed to cut taxes (and, yes, revenues) at the same time as they were ramping up their war spending.

I’m beginning to think that the GOP doesn’t really understand what an “existential threat” is.

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