Comments about ‘Richard Davis: Raise the debt ceiling, then talk about spending less’

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Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

If cutting the deficit was a priority then Mike Lee wouldn't be talking about creating more entitlements and handing out more money to irresponsible people. His family tax credit only proved how much of a phony his "deficit hawk" desires really are.

Mainly Me
Werribee, 00

This is a really stupid idea! I can't just go to my bank and say, "Gimme more credit." I've got to live within my means, why can't the goobermint?

Salt Lake City, UT

Nah, too reasonable. There's no way they'd go for that.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

Absolutely right. The debt ceiling shouldn't even be a matter of political debate. Most countries don't have anything like it, and it's not constitutionally mandated. It's routine business, and should be routinely handled.

South Jordan, UT

Every time they raise the debt ceiling, Congress just spends until we face the next crisis. What would make this time different? When does the circus stop?

Personally I have no problem increasing the debt ceiling but I am very skeptical it will bring Congress to serious discussions on the budget or spending. So, a year from now, or two or five years from now, we'll be right where we are ... only worse because the hole is deeper.

My children have borrowed money from me and I have increased their "debt ceiling" now and then due to their changing circumstances. But we sit down and review their financial situation before I bail them out, not after. That doesn't make any sense at all.

Hayden, ID

Give me another drink of alcohol then we can talk about going to an AA meeting to get help.


Congress controls spending. Congress determines where the money goes and through what channels. Congress determines borrowing limits. Congress controls the debt ceiling. All of these things are managed by congress. Who is in charge of congress? John Boehner. The government cannot spend money without his signature. If the current congress cannot manage the country's finances in a way that inspires confidence, then they need to be replaced. Including John Boehner. But they cannot be replaced with a group of people who just say no to everything. They have to be replaced by a group of people willing to compromise and work together on spending. Unlike the current congress. The problem is not national leadership. The problem is not state leadership. The problem is congressional leadership.

Roger Terry
Happy Valley, UT

Richard, stop it! You're talking common sense. You're being reasonable. Stop it. We can't deal with this sort of talk. We prefer wild, reckless, irrational, dangerous, partisan political rhetoric, especially if it proves that we hate the president. That's really all that matters. If we oppose Obama on everything, somehow this country will be a better place and all of our problems will magically disappear. Compromise is so 1787.

Murray, UT

Give the president more debt capability, so he run off and campaign for gun control is more like it. Once he gets the money, he will be gone from the Washington governing scene.

No thanks. I don't want more debt, although I know it is inevitable, but at least have a spending reduction plan firmly placed into law, and I don't want gun control either.

Happy Valley, UT


The problem here is that both parties (but especially the GOP) are half-Keynesians. They agree that deficit spending is necessary during downturns to prevent catastrophe, but they refuse to tax sufficiently to produce a surplus during economic expansions. Instead, they somehow think they can simply slash their way to a balanced budget. But drastically slashing government spending would simply produce another recession. Ideology has held both common sense and sound economic policy hostage for some time now (since Reagan). We had a brief reprieve during the Clinton years, but the Bush tax cuts and the absolute refusal by the GOP to allow them to expire has left us with no way out of this corner we've painted ourselves into. Ever wonder why Romney/Ryan never were willing to put any numbers to their bizarre balanced-budget claims?

South Jordan, UT

Nonconlib: My company has had four labor reductions this year. They had staffed to support a certain business level, then found that they could only earn about 3/4 of their projections. The quickest way to get healthy was to reduce the labor force and suffer the negative results.

So goes the government. Earnings will provide only a certain level of spending. They can never earn enough to put everybody on the government payroll. The quickest path to fiscal health is to reduce their budget to match their earnings.

I disagree with the half-Keynesians. Deficit spending offers no long term benefits. It just kicks the problem down the road. Are we really so selfish that we will saddle our children with the bill of our self-indulgence?

We will never be confused with the "greatest generation;" those who gave their lives in WWII so we could be free of tyranny. We won't even sacrifice our lusts for the next generations, much less our lives. Do we really need the latest cell phones, big screen TVs, satellite dishes, and video games? What do you have that you would be willing to sacrifice for the future?

The Skeptical Chymist


Noncomlib is correct, the government should act to smooth the ups and downs of the economy. The government should spend more than it takes in during recessions, and should make up for it by taking in more than it spends during the good times. This will keep the economy going during recessions and will keep it from getting superheated during good times.

Even Milton Friedman, conservative economist extraordinaire, didn't think deficit spending is bad. What is important is that the deficit spending be on items that have value. If we do deficit spending, it should be spent on things that will need to be done anyway, like (1) repairing/expanding infrastructure, which benefits the economy in the long run, (2) educating our population, which again benefits the economy in the long run, and (3) diversifying our energy sources, so we are not so dependent on forms of energy with hidden long-term costs.

And yes, we need to run the government with a surplus during good times, rather than cutting taxes. It's like saving money when you're employed, so you can live off your savings when you're laid off.

South Jordan, UT

skeptical: I don't disagree. As I mentioned in my first post, I don't have a problem with raising the debt ceiling. In my own finances, I have periods of deficit spending when I've purchased a car or a home. But whenever I've done that, I had a plan to satisfy the incurred debt. Where is the plan from the government and where is the commitment to adhere to the plan?

You're living in Normal Rockwell world with the paradigm you propose. It ain't gonna happen because spending buys votes. So what legislator is going to want to make the hard decisions when times are tough and, even more, make the rational decisions when time are good.

The argument you make is sound. But I hope you don't consider me naive enough to believe it will work with our current way of managing the country.

clearfield, UT

The article had merit until he included the part about the rich paying their share. They should, but their contributions would not make a dent in the now almost 17 trillion in debt. Just today I was reading an article about the richest Americans and at about 70 billion sits Bill Gates. Take every penny he has, and that 70 billion is a drop in the debt bucket. Take even 50% from the rich and it won't come close to solving the problem.


You do realize that the Republicans control only 1/3 of government don't you? Boehner signs the legislation that ultimately get to him by Obama and Reid in the Senate. So your idea of throwing the bums out is noble, just don't forget to throw them ALL out.

Salt Lake City, UT

Skepitcal---We were paying down the debt during good times, when Clinton was Pres. Then Bush and "deficits don't matter" Cheney decided that was too responsible, let the next guy (Obama) worry about it.

South Jordan, UT

mcclark: Like most liberals, you have your facts confused. The debt was not being paid off during the Clinton administration. In fact, the national debt increased every year Bill was in office. However, the Republican Congress demanded a balanced budget and growth of the national debt was very low.

In 93-94 (two years), under a Democratic Congress, debt increased ~$500M ($250M/yr).

In 95-2000 (six years), under a Republican Congress, debt increased ~$700M ($116M/yr).

The same situation repeated itself in reverse since Clinton.

In 01-06 (six year), under a Republican Congress, debt increased ~$2.8B ($467M/yr).

In 07-12 (six years), under a Democratic Congress, debt increased ~$7.85B ($1.31B/yr).

Facts can be messy things, can't they?

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

Current revenues ARE sufficient to fully fund SS and medicare, pay interest on the debt, and fund defense.

“The Obama administration is correct in refusing to play politics with the debt limit.”

Absolutely right! BO’s misadministration WOULD be correct in refusing to play politics with the debt ceiling, but that is just what he is doing. Why do you think he went on a rant monday against the repus? he was playing politics.

Blaming it on the house when the senate won’t even vote on the house budgets, and BO says he would veto house budgets is disingenuous at best. Everything coming out of congress is loaded with dem pork or the senate won’t even vote on it and BO would veto it.

nope, no debt reduction during slick’s administration. According to the treasury dept, gross federal debt INCREASED every year under slick. No reduction, no balanced budget. Please stop repeating untruths.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

Lost in DC and Joe5

You need a lesson in modern economics. Government debt has always been based on its ratio to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Relative to the GDP the debt did go down under Clinton. By the way the biggest debt creator in recent history was Ron Reagan, he tripled the federal debt. Obama will never come close to that.

Salt Lake City, UT

After dealing with this idiotic issue for decades now, I think my biggest complaint is with the corruption of our language.

When this arbitrary and seemingly meaningless amount can be raised so often and with such little regard to rules of simple economic common sense, why do we STILL refer to it as a debt "limit" or "ceiling"?

Both of those words, in this context, are meant to convey some sense of limitation or maximum. However, as we've seen so many times and for so long, our national debt "limit" is anything but!!

Salt Lake City, UT

Joe 5 1998 99.28 B Surplus
1999 176.16 B Surplus
2000 320.76 B Surplus
2001 168.16 B Surplus Bush's first year
2002 205.2 B Deficit
2003 47.8 B Deficit
2004 511.14 B Deficit

This does not count Bush putting two wars on the country's credit card that we will be paying for the next 25 years. Facts are facts and combining years to come up with the math you want does not change that.

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