The U.S. House of Representatives is poised to vote today on a plan by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to raise the federal debt ceiling.
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“The government this year estimates nearly $2.2 trillion of revenue and $214 billion of interest payments. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has enough money to pay the debt, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, with some $400 billion left over. If he were to sell unused or underused federal assets, he’d have hundreds of billions more. Default or failure to pay Social Security benefits would be a purely political decision by the Obama administration.
“Yet Boehner’s latest plan would take spending and the national debt even higher. Federal spending has doubled in 10 years. Is the country more financially secure? Slowing future spending increases is not the same as cutting spending. We need to actually cut spending.
“If political leaders were serious about making the nation more financially secure, they’d cut spending and borrowing today, not years in the future. They could abolish redundant agencies and programs, repeal the Obamacare bill, end the Medicare prescription drug benefit, gut the massive and abusive Homeland Security Department, pull troops out of undeclared Middle East wars that have no definition for victory, close many of the 800-some military bases we have on every continent but Antarctica, and eliminate the 2,000 federal subsidy programs. Doing those things would be a good start.”
“It’s neither perfect nor a long-term fix, but Speaker Boehner’s debt proposal deserves quick passage by the House as a way of cutting government and avoiding default. Republicans made a huge mistake by opening the debt ceiling debate in the first place and the reasonably small gains that the proposal will produce if it becomes law show just how badly they have fumbled the ball.”
“The debt ceiling is a short-term matter that can’t be used to solve the long-term problem, which is the federal government’s overspending.
“The president is disingenuous in threatening to cut off Social Security checks if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. He’d be a fool to do that, and he is not a fool.
“Republicans cannot seriously think that they can force real budget reforms when they control only one house of Congress and the president wants even more tax hikes instead. The sensible approach is for them to force the president and the Democrats to own the budget, and that is where this is all headed: positioning for next year’s elections.”
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