By George Miller, 5-23-23
I received a forwarded letter (below) from a friend who is an elected official in California, decrying the Republicans’ attempt to minimally slow down the meteoric explosion of federal spending, almost a token actually, but at least a start.
On Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at 04:09:31 PM EDT, Phillip wrote:
From: Public Citizen <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, May 23, 2023 at 12:26 PM
Subject: Republicans are holding us all hostage
I want to spell out what all the talk about a “debt ceiling” really means.
Here’s what Republicans in Congress — under the leadership, if you can call it that, of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy — are doing:
- Every year — through a normal, if often contentious, legislative process — Congress passes bills about how much the federal government can spend, on everything from paper clips to nuclear submarines.
- Now Republicans are exploiting the so-called debt ceiling — an arbitrary and, frankly, stupid cap on how much the federal government can borrow — to extort cuts they could never hope to achieve legitimately.
- And if their ransom demands are not met, Republicans say they won’t let the government make good on its existing obligations — every single one of which was already authorized by Congress.
- Experts are clear that if the U.S. government can’t pay what it owes, the national and global economies will be thrown into crisis. Nearly two million jobs could be wiped out in a week. A default that goes on for months could wipe out 8 million jobs and $10 trillion in household wealth.
In other words, if Republicans cause the United States to default, the economic consequences — immediate and long-term, domestic and worldwide — would be catastrophic.
Is there any shred of civic mindedness, any notion of the greater good, any scrap of “do the right thing” somewhere inside Kevin McCarthy?
I don’t know, but this is too important not to try.
Join Public Citizen in a direct message for Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy:
Never mind the question of why you and your fellow Republicans are so bent on slashing programs that help everyday Americans in the first place. Congress authorized spending and now the United States must pay what it owes. No conditions. No ifs, ands, or buts. Stop holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage. Stop threatening economic catastrophe. Stop it.
Click now to add your name.
Thanks for taking action.
– Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen
Public Citizen | 1600 20th Street NW | Washington DC 20009
I have a very different take on this and would like to hear our readers, too, in a reader comment or article.
Congress (Dem and Rep) has gone nuts and delivered us nearly an incredible $32,000,000,000,000.00 (TRILLION) in debt and at least $200 TRILLION more in unfunded liabilities.
We go through a ritualistic process of wringing our hands about the impending approach of exceeding our debt limit every year or two. Sometimes the Republicans will pretend to refuse to increase it. Then stories come out about how parks are closed and military/public servants’ checks are withheld for a couple of weeks, with dire warnings about impending chaos. The media and Democrats blame the Republicans, accusing them of partisan maneuvers, heartlessness, diverting the money, even “ransoming” the public. Ultimately, the Republicans have always folded or just gotten token concessions to simulate belt-tightening, even when they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House.
Putting minor constraints on future spending as they propose is a mere token, but at least a start. McCarthy is well within his rights and prudent common sense to go to 2022 levels, which were already absurdly bloated, resulting in a $1.5 TRILLION deficit for only a single year. Since nothing else has even slowed it down, this is a good approach. Nothing else has worked so far since Newt Gingrich balanced the budget briefly starting in 1995.
Nothing “stupid” about a debt limit, since it periodically raises awareness and begs for action to check Congress’ prolific, reckless spending. You may have noticed that the dollar has depreciated 97-98% since the early 20th century. The debt, monetary inflation and spending are the major reasons why. I would think that a financial professional would recognize that.
It is the Biden administration and Senate which are holding the entire nation hostage, due to their insatiable need for cash to fund endlessly expanding spending and playing “chicken” with shutdown threats, while refusing any meaningful negotiations so far.
I know that even President George W. Bush was said to have claimed that “deficits don’t matter” and officials seem to agree, based on their actions. The nation MUST check excessive spending or we’re not going to have a dollar or a real country anymore. Debt service will eat up most of the federal budget if deficits and interest rates continue to increase. Hardly anyone will want to own T-bills and Treasury bonds. Other groups of nations are already moving away from the dollar. If true inflation is considered, the economy is contracting, not growing as claimed. Gold which is defined as the real money in the Constitution, but not used as such anymore, recently exceeded $2000/ounce (it was $35 when I was in college). Please weigh in with your federal representatives.
Yeah, we’re an area newspaper, but this federal spending run amok will have/is already having a huge impact locally, further elevating prices, destroying your nest egg, reducing the beneficial effect of government spending.
George Miller is Publisher and Co-Founder of Citizens Journal Florida, based in Fernandina Beach. He is a “retired” operations management consultant, software and publishing executive and manufacturing management professional.
The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida.