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The Democrats’ Debt Ceiling Position Makes Zero Sense

Posted on Friday, May 12, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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44 Comments
Debt

“If you buy a car,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre explained the other day, “you are expected to pay the monthly payment…It’s that simple.”

Is it? Now, obviously, those who argue that the president can cancel millions of student loans by decree aren’t in a position to offer lessons on personal responsibility. The deeper problem with Jean-Pierre’s analogy, though, is that there isn’t a bank on Earth that’s going to keep lines of credit open when a person is compounding unsustainable debt year after year.

Speaking of which, the federal government has already hit the debt limit. The Treasury Department is now relying on “extraordinary measures” that will sputter out by June, at which time we will all be forced to forage for food and barter for medicine. The only thing that can save us from this dystopian hellscape, Jean-Pierre explains, is for Congress to do its “job” and return to regular order.

The White House press secretary is apparently unaware that regular order would entail Senate Democrats passing a bill and then negotiating with House Republicans, who have already passed a bill raising the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion into 2024.

Until this week, Democrats wouldn’t even talk to Republicans on the matter. In the old days, this kind of absolutist position would have every newspaper wringing its hands about GOP “obstructionism” and the dysfunction of the political system. Today, outlets like The New York Times simply pretend Republican bills are apparitions. “Are Republicans Willing to Raise the Debt Ceiling?” asks the editorial board this week.

Does the Times not know that the GOP has already agreed to lift the ceiling? They do. They pretend it isn’t real because it includes “deep cuts in federal spending” (by which they mean a return to last year’s discretionary spending levels, with no cuts moving forward), the reversal of “investments in tax enforcement” (some 80,000 new IRS cops monitoring, among other things, Venmo accounts with more than $600), a rollback of some “green energy” boondoggles, and so on.

And anyway, the Times notes, President Joe Biden has offered Republicans “a reasonable path to resolve the standoff” in which the GOP raises the ceiling without any conditions as Democrats demand, and then Biden will “separately negotiate measures to slow the growth of the federal debt.”

Dear Lord, can you imagine The New York Times editorial board urging Democrats to table their policy concerns and simply trust that a Republican president will negotiate in good faith at some undetermined, future time? And not any president, but one who claims a $3.5 trillion inflation-inducing bill “costs zero dollars.” So, not exactly a whiz with numbers.

But that’s not even the most ridiculous sentence in the editorial. The Times also contends that the debt ceiling “is not a useful mechanism for preventing the federal government from living beyond its means,” when that’s exactly why the law exists in the first place.

If the debt ceiling is mechanically lifted without any debate over spending, then it doesn’t really exist. If you want to spend without any limit, just say so. But even the Times concedes that Washington is “living beyond its means.” So, then, why is it more “reasonable” to negotiate the slowing of spending now, when the ceiling is in view, than a month from now or a year from now when there is no incentive to do anything?

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who for weeks was sending out snarky tweets demanding House Speaker Kevin McCarthy show the country his plan on the debt ceiling, won’t negotiate. And it’s clear that Biden is now pondering invoking the 14th Amendment and simply ignoring the debt ceiling much in the way he ignores the law on a slew of other issues. Such a move would almost surely be overturned by the Supreme Court – because, as Ilya Shapiro succinctly put it, “a constitutional provision that prevents repudiation of debt doesn’t also somehow authorize limitless new debt.”

Democrats spend their time blaming GOP administration for the preponderance of our debt – most of which Biden has voted for as a senator or helped shepherd through in the executive branch. No one is innocent on that front, of course, but most of our debt is propelled by constantly expanding entitlement programs, which are treated with a reverence by the left that the Constitution can never attain.

But even if the GOP were culpable for every single dollar of debt and were engaged in blatant hypocrisy, it wouldn’t change the fact that they are objectively correct today in arguing that we need to slow spending and mitigate debt. The arguments used to oppose even a modicum of responsible budgeting do not make any sense.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Harsanyi is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of five books – the most recent, “Eurotrash: Why America Must Reject the Failed Ideas of a Dying Continent.” His work has appeared in National Review, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Reason, New York Post and numerous other publications. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

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Ernest Hall
Ernest Hall
9 months ago

The U.S. Constitution calls itself the “supreme law of the land.” This clause is taken to mean that when state constitutions or laws passed by state legislatures or the national Congress are found to conflict with the federal Constitution, they have no force.
—Article 1 Section 8: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States Clause 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
—14 Amendment Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States,..…shall not be questioned.
—Congress by approved legislation determined a cap on federal debt, the debt or the debt cap is not in question, however, any debt occurring passed the approved debt cap would be not valid or enforceable because, it had not not been approved by congressional legislation.
— With Congress aware of previous statements of using the 14th Amendment, congress should be preparing to take congressional legislative action and preparing for federal litigation. The POTUS does have the Constitutional authority to usurp the Constitution.

jqaman
jqaman
9 months ago

Thanks for a truthful unbiased report on this issue.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
9 months ago

Here we go again. For the 200th time the media revs up the old “the government is gonna
shutdown” bull____ . If only that were possible. Then we would spend no money. AWESOME !
Or: ” the govt is going to send employees home” Reality is that only 17% of federal govt
workers would go home and these are all unneeded employees that we can do without.
After 2 weeks, always, these employees come back and are paid all back pay. Thus the
not needed employees are given paid vacation. Only in the US.
RULE 2: The media always blames this on the Repubs. Always.
So lets turn off the media and read a book or take up knitting.

Allan E Brem
Allan E Brem
9 months ago

This is a prime example of how the attitude of the president and senate are known for their senatorial arrogance. They will be that way unitl or unless they get their way in controlling the lives of the American people.

Magic Mike
Magic Mike
9 months ago

It makes perfect sense. Part of their agenda is to reward friends and political allies. They can’t do that if spending is cut. Under their new monetary theory, if Govt needs money they turn on the printing press and computer to create money. Thereby devaluing the money already in circulation….. Magic INFLATION!

David Millikan
David Millikan
9 months ago

Beijing biden has NO grounds to invoke the 14th Amendment Section 4.
It does NOT cover or say anything Beijing biden is trying to use it for. Such as for political power and control for one side only, meaning theirs.
I strongly suggest everybody read it.
This is a fear tactic so he can continue to put the United States DEEPER in DEBT by continuing unchecked spending so he can RAISE TAXES MORE to PAY for MORE DEBT and SOCIALISM with his ILLEGAL ALIEN TERRORIST INVASION including still sending $BILLIONS to Ukraine.
Your Great grandchildren’s kids, kids are still going to be paying for Beijing biden’s DEBT and he wants to SPEND MORE on everything but the UNITED STATES and AMERICANS.
Beijing biden has done nothing but turn YOU into a SLAVE paying all your income on TAXES and INFLATION. That’s why he wants to raise the Debt Ceiling.
Just check your Bank account.
Another excellent reason why I am Voting for:
PRESIDENT TRUMP.

MariaRose
MariaRose
9 months ago

Instead of admitting they (the New Age style Democrats), want to spend money with no constraints as if the money doesn’t need to be budgeted for every project, they instead spend time trying to blame something else for why there needs to be a budget—like using Social Security and Medicare programs as being abused by seniors ( all of us who are on Social Security already and actually contributed while working into the fund), because eliminating that cost from the budget means they, the Democrats, will be able to give more “free benefits” to non-contributing individuals who will do whatever they say to get their “free stuff” After all, Medicaid needs expansion to provide “free healthcare” but seniors are getting “too much coverage” with Medicare. And why do seniors need their social security since they have money already? I highly doubt that seniors have a monopoly on the entire group being the 1% rich. Most of us, seniors, rely on Social Security for 90% of our income in retirement because we support the families in our lives, but the younger generations think we don’t need that money and should be eliminated.

Sue
Sue
9 months ago

The Democratic creative math is a dead end. Bad math, no common sense, hate of anything or anyone American, and liars. Shame on them and shame on them who support and vote for them. Jesus talks about what parent would give their child a snake when they are hungry. Answer: anyone who cares only for their own interest. Oh sounds like people in our government—not the conservative for sure. Marxist-Democrats-Communists-anyone that is anti-American.

Casey C Matt
Casey C Matt
9 months ago

Why even worry about this? The country is done……finished. Stick a fork in us……..done. Forget about waiting til 2024…….too late. We are going to experience a change in living standards we will find it difficult to believe when the dollar completes its transition away from being a forced at gunpoint “reserve currency”. We gave/sold our industrial base away, our youth refuse to even consider actually working. Too many citizens are too stupid to know what a male or female is. Our military accepts criminal, gay, transexual, fat slobs that can barely read. We blindly follow governmental medical decrees.
We are done but what is worse is that we deserve it.

johnh
johnh
9 months ago

Explain Social Security fund to me. News media this week said SS benefits will stop if default. According to AARP bulletin May 2023, their was a $2.83 Trillion surplus in the SS fund at end of 2022, so why cannot these monthly SS checks go out. When SS started in 1935, Social Security taxes went into a separate fund so that govt. could not spend this. The govt. has borrowed from this fund & owes/pays a lot back to this fund every year. Congress needs to shore up this fund so that benefits continue past 2034 & whatever happens do not let Congress roll this SS fund into the general fund so that govt. will not have to repay what they have borrowed. This threat of stopping SS benefits if debt ceiling is not raised by June 1st is a threat to American taxpayers that should not happen. Social Security is not an entitlement, but is a benefit that Americans get back the tax money they have paid in on their wages + the employer matches this tax & today both of them combined pay ound 12.4% FICA taxes on wages. Both parties need to answer this question, & perhaps AMAC can answer?

Rik
Rik
9 months ago

There is NO CEILING TO DEMOCRATS SPENDING!

K. Martin
K. Martin
9 months ago

If your end-game position is to destroy the country, it makes perfect sense.

John Bass
John Bass
9 months ago

“The arguments used to oppose even a modicum of responsible budgeting do not make any sense.” Sure they do…especially when your goal is to bring this country to it’s knees. To bankrupt it, to systematically dismantle everything about it.

The Communist Democrats know exactly what their doing.

edward
edward
9 months ago

Little, if anything, the democrats do make sense. Unless you want communism.

Gabe Hanzeli
Gabe Hanzeli
9 months ago

Biden claimed he lowered the national debt 1.7 trillion last fall. So why does the debt ceiling need to be raised to cover for his wild wasteful spending?

OOooooooh because biden was lying then and the whole democrat party is lying now. Got it!

Any Leftists want to try to defend biden and your lovely corrupt democrats today?

anna hubert
anna hubert
9 months ago

The only way to avoid the bankruptcy is to cut the spending to the absolute minimum Doubt there is anyone willing to do it and enough to accept it

Irv C
Irv C
9 months ago

Anyone who doesn’t see the financial destruction of democrats lavish spending of Americans hard earned tax dollars deserves the end results but those of us who use intelligence don’t. Where is Trump? He didn’t lose the election he was cheated and now they say he’s a criminal. Hey joJo biden! Let’s look at you and your sons crimes which are REAL!

Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
9 months ago

I will never vote GOP again if they back down on this fight. Joe Biden has been allowed to act like an emperor choosing which laws he will enforce and refusing input from the GOP, writing executive orders to get around legislation he knows would not pass. He was not elected emperor and he does not have the leverage to get his way. Make him a believer in Democracy.

As a senior citizen who has had to live within my means for a lifetime I am fed up with Washington DC budgeting! You could learn a lot from the common man!

If you to cut the budget, close the border and quit giving millions to lawbreakers who enter the country illegally. That is Joe Biden’s job and he fails at it miserably to create new Democrat voters.

Sharon Ormsby
Sharon Ormsby
9 months ago

With them (the Democrats such as Yellen) rising the rates, it just floors me, that the Congress as a whole, thinks it’s okay to raise the debt ceiling at all. If anything, they should be cutting and slashing as much as possible. Anything to make the budget more palatable. We the people, need to take it out of their hands and cut and slash it ourselves. We need to make it more palatable.

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
9 months ago

The debt is 1/3 or more of the world GDP, estimated as $103,832,452,678,546. There is not enough money in the world to bail us out if the STF without the world economy, making 1929 look like a garden party. If we don’t have the manufacturing to sell to the world, our economy cannot generate enough money to pay the debt. If enough countries use the yuan to buy petroleum and/or as the reserve currency, our asses will be mowed grass. Mulched mown grass.

PaulE
PaulE
9 months ago

This is all just Washington, D.C. theater at the end of the day. Everyone knows, or at least they should by the time they reach our ages, that the debt ceiling will be raised at the 11th hour. The simple fact is that the United States takes in more than enough tax revenue to pay for its actual legal obligations under the Constitution. So there is no actual threat of an actual default to our national interest rate debt payments on our outstanding Treasury bonds, unless the Biden administration, for some political reason, wants to cause one by diverting money from the payment of our legal obligations under the Constitution to something else.

Note I said Constitutional obligations, not promises or what the federal government constantly wants to spend with reckless abandon. There is a huge difference. So this will all play out the same way it has always played out, unless the ideological left in this country wants to cause an actual default of the interest owed on our outstanding Treasury bonds for purely political reasons.

Peter
Peter
9 months ago

What appealed to me about Donald J Trump was the apparently mere suggestion of “accountability” in political discourse. Then we’re finding everyone secretly prided themselves on being masters in “reverse psychology”. We’re all only human so everyone is “corruptible” but actually BEING corrupt I suppose would be very burdensome. Why can’t everyone see “accountability” if we’re smart would unburden everyone. A simple distinction needs to be drawn in the case of National Debt between the pre-existing “norms” (deficit spending) and “normal” (balanced budgets and fiscal solvency).

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