The Debt Ceiling
We have heard the term the debt ceiling quite a bit over the past month. Wikipedia defines the term as:
“The United States debt ceiling or debt limit is a legislative mechanism to limit the amount of national debt that can be issued by the Treasury. The debt ceiling is an aggregate figure which applies to the gross debt, which includes debt in the hands of the public and in Intra-government accounts. Because expenditures are authorized by separate legislation, the debt ceiling does not directly limit budget deficits. In effect, it can only restrain Treasury from paying for expenditures after the limit has been reached, but which have already been approved (in the budget) and appropriated.”
As with most things with the government it is not a simple definition. It does allow the government to spend more money than it takes in and it is always described as a ceiling. We get Congress to raise the ceiling to allow us to spend much more than we take in. A business or a family couldn’t operate the same way for several reasons. First it is not a smart way to operate, second there are outside forces that would object. The wife of a family would object to the husband who tried to run a family’s finances that way. A business who tried to operate beyond its means would find objections from accountants, investors or partners. It’s a bad practice and opens the door to far too many bad consequences.
I dislike the impression that we are dealing with a ceiling. It gives the impression that we are raising up something that should be high. It’s more appropriate to describe it as a hole that we are digging deeper and deeper. The hole we are digging is not only getting very deep it has consequences that we keep ignoring.
We consistently spend beyond our means. Much of what is spent is not necessary. Fraud, Waste, and Abuse is a constant companion to government spending, but no one wants to take a serious look at it and quantify it or even attempt to stop it. I’m confident that Fraud, Waste, and Abuse will easily amount to 10 percent of the total budget. A 10 percent savings will be a big step forward, but someone has to look at it to identify it and then fix it. The first 10 percent in savings should not have a negative impact on any interest group, except the thieves and incompetents.
Ideological commitment or Pride of performance had little to do with the final agreement made in the budget battle. The best interests of the tax payers were hardly if ever considered. The deal was made primarily based on the polls taken by the media based on the opinion of mostly low information voters.
The least capable among us who do not understand the significance or the potential of what our elected empty suits are doing to the tax payers and the children of the taxpayers are determining how those same elected empty suits will vote.
In life when you find yourself in a deep hole the conventional wisdom says stop digging. Politicians refuse to consider the consequences of their irresponsibility. They have lost the spirit of public service and they have lost the feeling of obligation they should have toward the tax payers who voted them into office. When they find themselves in a deep hole they insist on digging deeper.
I am about to list the shortcomings and failures of the players in the past debt ceiling (debt hole) dispute.
• Failure to adequately consider the burden placed on the tax payers.
• Failure to stand by the principles that caused them to take their positions in the first place; assuming one or both sides took a principled stand based on their beliefs. If they took a principled stand they backed away from the stand they took too easily. If they allowed the government to go unfunded because of a principle that they actually believed in, why did they surrender so easily. If you want to fight then fight, they gave up to easily.
• Failure to communicate and state their position; how deep do we want to dig this hole? The deeper we did and he deeper we go into debt was not discussed. One side got to state their position and state their position without facts that would support their position. Today’s multimedia environment could easily be used to present both sides of the argument and force the low information voter to be better informed.
• The opinions of the low information voters swayed the polls that the week kneed uncommitted empty suits caved in to.
Elected empty suits started a fight that they did not have the intestinal fortitude to fight. The debt hole that we willingly dug deeper has consequences that were never discussed publicly.
Spending must get under control and the serial spenders must be honest with everyone especially the low information voters.
The low information voters get more input than the tax payers who have to support the irresponsibility of the elected empty suits. Professional politicians are not accountable to the tax payers and they suffer no consequences of their irresponsible actions.
Stop reelecting men and women who DO NOT understand money or the economy.
Pay attention to who runs for office and start electing men and women with experience outside of government!!!