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Published: Friday, Feb. 14 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

Why do they keep calling it a debt ceiling?

happy2bhere
clearfield, UT

It is just such commen sense that any person who works for money, needs money, or spends money should understand. Whether Democrat, Republican, or Communist, everyone should see that it is impossible for anyone, or any government, to continue to borrow and increase a debt forever. So when will any of our leaders in Congress or the White House, with the exception of people like Mike Lee, finally realize that something has to be done to stop this expanding debt? If it isn't stopped by us, it will be stopped by a financial meltdown with inflation looking like Germany in the 1930s. And some of you might actually remember what came out of that. History repeats itself.

Mountanman
Victor, ID

Before I die, I would like to meet ONE Democrat politician that cares about the national debt! They don't care but our children and grandchildren will care. What is our entitlement greed doing to their futures?

JKR
Holladay, UT

"Using the debt ceiling as a political football is telling the American people that this country’s full faith and credit can be sacrificed, and that’s not irresponsible." Huh? That is too irresponsible. This must be a typo.

And I agree, it's time for everyone to get together and rein in social security and medicare. Our politicians are chickens. Don't join the AARP until they get reasonable. And to the majority of well off older persons, be willing to give up some benefits for the fiscal health of the country.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

I echo "Nate", from Pleasant Grove, who asks why we still call this a debt "ceiling".

Referring to this completely meaningless number as a ceiling or limit while routinely ignoring what both those terms are meant to imply (a point beyond which we will not go) is now far beyond being the almost comical example of irresponsibility that some comedians used as joke fodder 30+ years ago.

Now, with a debt exceeding 17 **trillion** dollars (not including "entitlement" debt, which would raise it to beyond 100 **trillion**) and steadily climbing, it is a Damoclean sword, ready to smite us for our chronic fiscal imprudence.

Our continuing dishonesty and denial are no defense for the inevitable economic calamity that is absolutely inevitable unless we reverse our course. I desperately hope we do. But, if only for the sake of honesty, I must admit I doubt we will.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

Hello Mountanman, I'm Pragmatist. Nice to meet you. I to care about the debt, and guess what most democrats do care. We care differently than you do, so maybe that counts as not caring, I don't know.

First of all from a national perspective it's not true that a debt can't continue to grow forever. It doesn't mean it should, it just can, if the GDP continues to grow.

As a nation's citizenry continues to grow and an economy continues to change entitlements will always be "unsustainable" if you look far enough out. Again it doesn't mean they are bad or faulty it simply is a snapshot of a moving object compared to a static process.

There are all kinds of levers to pull to re-adjust such a situation. It's just the conversation about which lever to pull and how much, needs to be had within the realm of reality, and that's the issue with likes of the tea party.

They are fighting two hundred old wars within the walls of a made up world.

FT
salt lake city, UT

Was there any mention of revenue reform in this article? How can you discuss debt reduction without mentioning how revenues are collected and how much is needed? I'm all for Mike Lee pushing the issue of debt but let's not forget his and Ted Cruz's foolish strategy last Fall cost this country over 25 BILLION dollars. Not since Bill Clinton's passage of his 1992 Deficit plan(which not one Republican voted for) has there been a serious effort by Washington to reign in our Debt. A leader has to lead and Mike Lee has not been able to do that. So far, outside of BO and Ted Cruz he's been one of the most divise, do nothing members of Congress.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

There is no doubt that the GOP is to blame for our debt problems, but it isn't the current crop of radical right wingers that are to blame.

The GOP needs to remove the historical blinders and review the well documented monetary failures of the Bush/Cheney administration.

It will take more than Obama's 8 years to repair the Republican damage.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

What's wrong with raising taxes?

If we want to resolve our national debt then we need to stop playing around and realize that a tax increase is necessary.

UTCProgress
American Fork, UT

FT has hit the nail on the head. There will be no debt reduction without revenue reform. Looking at historical tax revenue as a fraction of GDP, we (the United States) are collecting almost 5 basis points to little in taxes. For example, during the God of all Republicans (Ronald Regan's) administration, the federal government collected an average of 18.5% of GDP in taxes. During the entirety of the horrible socialist Barak Obama's we are averaging just over 15.5% of GDP in tax collection. All while dealing with a much larger (as a percentage of the total population) population of retirees using Social Security and Medicare. The editors of this paper are as foolish as the general public when it comes to federal debt. There are two ways to lower debt (although you would never hear it from the clowns who run this paper); you can reduce spending or you can increase revenue (or both if you really want to bring the debt down fast). I would really love to see an adult discussion that includes both options. Unfortunately, all you will ever hear from Republics is "cut spending, cut spending!!!"

happy2bhere
clearfield, UT

Prag....
Our debt right now is surpassing GDP

FT
I'm glad that you at least recognize that BO is very divisive.

Lib Larry
Almost too wrong to even comment on. But here goes. Since 2009 Obama and Congress have added 7 trillion to the debt. The Dems have been a HUGE part of our debt problems.

Real Mav
You could tax all the billionaires, and millionaires 100% and hardly even touch the trillions of dollars we have in debt.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

An excellent opinion piece.

We do need to get our house in order. That must include entitlements to be meaningful at all. And sidestepping the foolish brinkmanship of the past year or two was essential.

Two additional points.

First, the bad blood created over the past few years is a serious problem. Nobody wants to consider doing anything that originates from the other side of the aisle. Besides the sheer question of votes (you need a majority to pass legislation) this is really too bad - because both sides have good ideas (once you get the shouters to sit and be quiet in a corner somewhere).

Second, as mentioned by FT above, we need to consider revenues. Much of that could likely be handled by simply patching many of the holes in the current tax law and making the effective tax rate closer to the nominal tax rate.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

Barack has added as much to the national debt as almost all past presidents combined.

And he still thinks he's not spending enough

Shaun
Sandy, UT

Our monetary system is debt based. It always has to expand otherwise monetary contraction will occur.

The only way to solve this, is to move to a debt free based monetary system.

Ronnie W.
Layton, UT

@LiberalLarry

Our kids deserve more than this. Every discussion can't degrade into "He started it!" If we continue to care more about the blame game than the present opportunity to fix the problem, we will never get anywhere. Obama hasn't done anything to fix the debt problem. Even if Bush has started it, Obama has been every bit has reckless.

UTAH Bill
Salt Lake City, UT

A major problem is states, like Utah, demand the feds spend money. But, of course, we want other states to have fed funding cuts - but not us. Look what happens every time cutbacks at HAFB are proposed. Our leaders spring into action to keep the money coming in. Utah is a welfare state. It receives more in fed funds than it pays into the system. WE are the problem.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Obama is taking a measured approach to reducing the debt. The deficit has dropped every year of his administration. As to the big 2009 outlay, sometimes you have to borrow a lot to save yourself from disaster. Then you pay it off gradually. That's the way we all work. No need to panic as long as GDP continues to grow.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Re: "Why do they keep calling it a debt ceiling"? (Nate)

Because it limits how much the government can borrow in our name.

We may keep changing what the limit is... but it's still a "ceiling"/upper-limit. The current ceiling/limit prevents the government from borrowing more, when that limit has been reached. Then they have to fight to get more money from their mom's purse.

But I acknowledge that we will always just increase it.

===

RE: "What's wrong with raising taxes?" (Maverick)

You evidently don't think things through. Every tax increase takes money out of the economy (and puts it into the Government). A tax increase means people have less to spend every 2 weeks. That means business have their revenue cut by that percentage. So profits dip. So people get layed-off. Those people have no income to tax, and instead drain the government coffers.

So if you think it through... in the long run you have less working people to tax, less sales to tax, less investing to tax... so LESS Tax revenue overall, if you just raise taxes every time you want more money.

bandersen
Saint George, UT

Are you kidding! What is this, Saturday Night Live?

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Let's translate the "debt ceiling" debate into terms we can understand.

Your friend has gone to Wendover, and spent every dollar they have gambling. They have maxed out their credit cards, mortgaged their house, hocked the family jewels, and put their car up for collateral. It is obvious they have a gambling addiction problem.

Now, you want to help them overcome their problem. As a good friend, you can either (a) loan them a million dollars, or (b) drag them out of the casino and force them to stop gambling.

Well, Congress chose to loan themselves another million dollars (borrowed from their children's credit card, by the way...)

We need some adults in Congress who recognize that the problem is not the amount of money being borrowed, but the amount being spent.

Some say just raise taxes. Well, every time in the past they have promised to cut spending if taxes were raised, the tax increase happened, but none of the spending cuts. Fool me once...

Stop the spending, and borrowing, and pay off the debt!

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