Making Sense of the Debt Ceiling
Dear Fellow Citizens and Taxpayers,
The federal debt ceiling is front and center and the media is doing it's usual poor job of explaining what's going on.
The very short version is that the House Republicans are demanding that any increase in the debt ceiling be matched with spending cuts. Obama is participating in negotiations, but is actually pushing for a plan that is farther to the left than the one released by his own fiscal commission.
So far, John Boehner and the House Republicans are standing firm, but Obama is busily threatening to withhold Social Security checks and sending Tim Geithner out to lie about the risk of default (more on that in a moment). As a result of the Democratic lies, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is going wobbly. He is worried about the political ramifications of the fight and has proposed allowing the President to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally in order to push the political risk back in Obama's direction.
Below is an essay by our Clermont County leader Ted Stevenot that explains the situation with the debt ceiling in more detail. I want to highlight one point.
There is absolutely no reason why the US Treasury should default on our debt or withhold Social Security checks. If they do so, it is solely due to a decision by the Obama administration.
Each month, there is sufficient government revenue to pay for interest on the debt, social security, medicare, medicaid, necessary defense spending, and veterans benefits. Default is a choice, not a reality. Obama does not want to prioritize government expenditures. Obama wants to use the debt ceiling as leverage to lock in tax increases and bigger government.
Please read Ted's essay below and then contact Senator McConnell's office and let him know that he shouldn't sell out the American people. Tell Senator McConnell no on raising the debt ceiling unless real spending cuts are implemented.
At the same time, call Speaker Boehner's office. Thank him for standing firm and give him the same message.
Senator McConnell - 202-224-2541 - 859-578-0188
Speaker Boenher - 202-225-6205 - 513-779-5400
Cincinnati Tea Party
The Debt Ceiling and How to Take Back America
by Ted Stevenot, Clermont County Tea Party
I think we have an opportunity to make a significant difference in turning around America's fiscal outlook via the current debt ceiling debate. But, before explaining this idea fully, let's consider a brief analogy.
Imagine a two income couple blissfully, but unenviably, traveling through life while spending all the money they make. One spouse makes about 60% of the household income, the other the remaining 40%. One day, the spouse making 40% of the income, comes home and says, "Bad news today dear. I lost my job!"
Meeting at the kitchen table that night, the couple sits down to prioritize how to survive on the money they have left. Quickly, they must determine which expenses are essential and which are not.
Together, they consider expenditures such as;
Season tickets or the mortgage?
Cable TV or the electric bill?
Family vacation or the car payment?
Eating out or buying groceries?
At the end of the discussion, the couple will hopefully have determined their priorities. They can now put in place a plan to carry their family forward until the unemployed spouse is either able to find new work or achieve some other remedy.
The Debt Ceiling Debate
With the above portrait of "everyday" prioritizing in mind, let's consider the debt ceiling and appropriation debate currently raging in DC. If you click on this link, you will see a chart showing that, for August 2011, the sum of;
Interest + Social Security + Medicare + Essential Defense, equals less than the regular income the government will take in without the debt ceiling being increased.
As long as spending is prioritized properly, there will be no risk of default or of seniors going without Social Security checks. But, if the figurative couple "goes on vacation" and "buys the season tickets," they could end up losing their house. The chart also shows, amazingly, there is roughly $50 billion leftover for the month even after these critical expenditures have been fully met.
(Click here to watch a video of Michelle Bachman making a similar case for addressing spending priorities versus raising the debt ceiling to FOX's Bill O'Reilly. It is one of the best performances I have seen from her so far.)
Saving the Country by Controlling Spending
It is a very good thing that James Madison and the founders thought to separate the powers of our government in the Constitution. As a result of this, the President today needs two favors from Congress to keep moving forward with his statist agenda - namely, (1) higher taxes and (2) a higher debt ceiling. Yet, he puts a new twist on "audacity of hope," by demanding he be given one favor in order to get another. He says in effect, "You must first wash my car before being allowed to mow my lawn."
The President is in this position because, in these circumstances, and by Constitutional design, the Speaker of the House holds all the cards. The Speaker has the "gavel." As such, he (or she) controls the schedule for what gets voted on and who gets to speak. Without the Speaker's direct consent, nothing can get through the Congress. No debt increases, no appropriations, no new taxes, no new legislation, no nothing. Ultimately, the President can only accept or reject what has first been permitted through the Speaker's hands.
So, Here Is the Basic Plan...
The Republicans can write an appropriation bill that directly stipulates spending to service the current debt, Social Security, Medicare and Essential Defense. No new debt. No new taxes. After that, they can prioritize what to do with the remaining cash receivables such as funding federal law enforcement, border patrol, VA benefits, etc.
Pass this bill in the House and send it to the Senate. It will then be the Senate's turn to decide whether to pay for "season tickets or the mortgage." The burden will be on them to pass the bill that will head off any impending doom. Once the Senate "eats their peas," the bill can be served up to the President where he can, subsequently, eat his.
Redistributing the Haircuts
As alluded above, the Speaker of the House is in the driver's seat on any new legislation and the nation's purse. Let the progressives whine about how disastrous it will be when entities like the Department of Education, NPR, the NEA, ACORN, the IMF, PBS and over half of the EPA's budget do not rate high enough to be funded. It's tough love. All agencies of government will have to hold "kitchen table meetings" of their own. Bring on the thousand legislative and spending cuts we were promised during the 2010 midterm elections. Defund Obamacare. The leverage is there and the people will support a sincere effort to restore fiscal sanity.
Key fact: As of this session of Congress - and many thanks to Tea Party folks like you - there are fewer Democrats in the House of Representatives then at any time since 1937.
It is therefore time for the Republicans to act decisively to save our nation from crushing and irresponsible spending and debt. As long as the double-threat of default and suspension of essential services is removed, the people will get on board with the plan. The fact is, the people have been taking haircut after haircut in recent years. It is now time for the federal government to take one too.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Cincinnati Tea Party on Debt Limit
Re-published with permission: