10 basics every American should know about the debt ceiling debate

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10 2013 8:08 a.m. MST

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J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press
Congress is currently debating if it should increase the debt ceiling or start defaulting on obligations to try and halt the debt growth. If the limit isn't increased, money to operate the government will have to come from somewhere else, whether it’s by cutting military and civilian employee salaries, programs or raising taxes.
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Karl Hegbloom
Salt Lake City, UT

I've written a
short essay regarding a possible solution to this problem.


A few points from the article:

"Congress, which controls national spending, sets the limit and can approve more borrowing if needed."
So, congress controls spending, and congress sets the limit. Congress decides how much money gets spent on what and congress decides where that comes from.
"Congress is currently debating if it should increase the debt ceiling or start defaulting on obligations."
This should be a no-brainer. The United States does not default on its obligations. Congress decided to spend the money. Congress decided to buy products for various federal agencies throughout the government. Now congress does not want to pay for that meal they just ate.
"It would be impossible to meet daily needs for important government programs like social security, Medicare, Medicaid, Defense, and military active duty pay, so government checks wouldn’t be issued."

When this happens, blame congress. As pointed out above, this is 100% their fault.

Salt Lake City, UT

This list needs to note that interest rates on our debt would go up (so much for debt reduction...), that paying the interest would be priority #1 since we cannot default, the fact that interest rate increases would increase interest rates everywhere else too (mortgages, credit cards, etc) and that default would crash the global economy and even just running into the debt ceiling and having to do that 40% cut in spending would also cause significant harm.

Lafayette, IN

The people who keep reelecting those politicians who keep making irrational promises to us are the ones at fault. This means We The People.

Ogden, UT

"The people who keep reelecting those politicians who keep making irrational promises to us are the ones at fault. This means We The People."

That's true, since the government is run 'by, for, and of the people.'

The problem is, many 'people' don't know or understand what government is all about. They think the government has deep pockets with an unlimited source of money and can give handouts forever. So they vote people in who promise more and more give-aways... like medicare, medicaid, social security food stamps, practically unlimited unemployment benefits, free education & healthcare for illegal immigrants, etc., etc., and... the latest: Obamacare.

This country is not going to the dogs... it's already there. We just don't know it yet.

Kearns, UT

WRZ, you forgot the biggest handout. It has more than doubled in the last 12 years. Military Spending.

If we cut military spending back to what it was in 2000, the country would need to borrow less than 10% to cover the budgets rather than the current 40%.

The amount borrowed each year to cover the deficit has been shrinking by about 10% each year for the last 3 years as the economy has improved. As the economy improves, tax revenue increases and deficit spending decreases.

What needs to happen is to encourage job creation at the same time spending cuts occur. This would reduce the deficit spending on 2 sides. If businesses were offered a tax break of 1% for each 5% increase in employment they made, we would see a lot more companies hiring. Especially if that reduced tax rate applied to repatriated funds.

But this won't pass nor get voted on in Congress because it supports capitalism and Republicans would vote no since it would create jobs - Just like they have been doing - even on bills just like this in the past with no additional spending, just job creation bills.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

Rule #1: When you find yourself in a $16 Trillion hole; stop digging.

The government is broken. The founding fathers created a government with separation of powers and checks and balances. For about a century congress has been creating federal agencies and delegating regulatory power to those agencies to do fulfill their missions. In the beginning it was benign.

Today so much authority has been delegated to the executive branch that congress is irrelevant. The House of Representatives is supposed to have the power of the purse. We have not had a budget in three years and the house has been powerless to force the issue.

If you run afoul of the IRS or the EPA (and a myriad of other federal agencies) you quickly find out that they are policeman, plaintiff, judge, jury, jailer and executioner. You have no rights.

It is unconstitutional for congress to delegate authority to any other body. If congress delegated all its authority to the executive branch we would have a dictatorship. We are pretty much there right now. Obama is talking about minting a $1 Trillion coin to do yet another end run around congress and raise the debt limit without them.

Boise, ID

So basically, we as a country have decided to live off of revolving credit cards. Lucky for us, we can just get a new credit card to max out when we want to. The tax increase on the rich will do nothing to make this better because spending has increased more than taxes. We are spending more than we have money to pay. Increasing taxes is not the answer. We have a spending problem, not a taxing problem.

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