Thursday, July 14, 2011

It Gets Raised All The Time

OK, let's talk about the debt ceiling. Everyone else seems to be. But they seem to be talking about it in terms of gloom and doom. Shocking, I know. And that's really not quite the case. I mean, it's doom-y and it's gloom-y, but that's nothing that's all that new.

The debt ceiling is supposed to be just what it says that it is. It's like a cap on how much debt the country can be in. See, the United States doesn't take in enough money to pay all of its bills. Yeah, that's a problem. So, the US has to borrow a boatload of money all of the time in order to pay for everything. And by "everything" I mean things like Social Security, the military, stuff like that. Stuff that (mostly) needs to be paid for. And if we don't raise the debt ceiling, then come August 3rd, things won't get paid. The country won't be able to borrow the money that it needs to pay its bills. And while that's bad, you would think that this would be a good opportunity to open up some discussion on the matter of what to do about all of that debt that we have. You would think.

I'm not trying to make this a Republican vs. Democrat issue. President Barry wants the debt ceiling raised. According to USA Today, they want to " cut spending and raise taxes while raising the debt limit by the Aug. 2 deadline". OK. President Barry doesn't want to raise taxes. He says that "...the White House could reach $1.7 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years without new revenues". OK. Now, I have no idea if that $1.7 trillion is accurate. I have no idea if it's even close to being true. But there are some things that I do know.

I know that all of this posturing over whether or not one side or the other is going to agree to raise the debt ceiling is just for show. It will get raised. How do I know this? Mainly, I speculate a lot. But I do so based on things that I see. See, people that are in Congress want to get re-elected. If this thing doesn't get raised and a bunch of people don't get paid and it becomes the Republicans "fault", that's not going to go over well come election time. It's also not going to go over well if taxes get raised when our tax dollars are being pissed away right and left with wasteful spending. That won't help that whole re-election cycle that they all drool over.

But before I get to the real reason, I'd just like to suggest that perhaps they consider changing the name of this thing. In what way is the "debt ceiling" or the "debt limit" either a ceiling OR a limit when you can just keep changing it? It's like when you go to buy a car and there is a suggested retail price. That thing can move all over the place. (And hopefully if you're buying a car, you're haggling to get the price reduced and not raised.) It's not a firm price. And this magical number that we have for what our debt can be? That's not a firm number. And it never has been.

And that brings me to the main reason why the debt ceiling will be raised without the government shutting down. They do it ALL THE TIME. According to CNN Money, "Since March 1962, the debt ceiling has been raised 74 times, according to the Congressional Research Service. Ten of those times have occurred since 2001." Seventy four times?! SEVENTY FOUR?! Since 1962?! That's 49 years. That averages out to once every 8.1 months! Are you freaking kidding me?! That's not even a full term pregnancy! 8.1 months! Oh, for cryin' out loud. Just raise the damn thing and get over it. What the what?! This happens ALL THE TIME! Stop it with the phony posturing all ready! Geez. We're doomed. Doomed!

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