Orrin Hatch's op-ed about fiscal responsibility gets real traction

Published: Thursday, Sept. 26 2013 8:55 a.m. MDT

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, center, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, speak with reporters after a GOP strategy session at the Capitol, in Washington, Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Congress begins a five-week summer recess this weekend.

J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) penned a guest op-ed in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal with the headline “Obama’s Debt-Ceiling Stonewall.” (The article can also be viewed on Hatch’s website.) More than 48 hours after the story went online, it remained the most popular article on wsj.com.

“I have voted to increase the debt ceiling with no strings attached,” Hatch wrote. “And I do not believe the United States should default on our debt. But we are living in a terrifying new reality that few Democrats seem willing to discuss.

“The national debt, if left unchecked, will eclipse our entire economic output in a mere 25 years, outstripping private investment and threatening the nation's economic health. That is the prognosis Congress' nonpartisan budget scorekeeper, the Congressional Budget Office, reported last week.”

As of Thursday morning, Hatch’s piece had generated enough buzz to still be riding high as the No. 1 article on the Wall Street Journal’s “Popular Now” list — a grouping determined by an internal Wall Street Journal algorithm that’s comprised of “30 percent page views, 20 percent Facebook, 20 percent Twitter, 20 percent email shares and 10 percent comments.”

On Tuesday, New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait critiqued Hatch's editorial: “Hatch presents his case as if he is rebutting Obama. He’s not. It is true that Congress has on occasion negotiated over budget changes ‘as part of debt-ceiling increases.’ What does that mean? It means that when Congress makes a change in budget policy, it often appends a debt-ceiling increase to that. It does not mean that Congress has negotiated over whether to increase the debt ceiling.”

Email: jaskar@desnews.com

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