Andrew McCarthy posted an article yesterday at National Review about the question of raising the debt ceiling. Mr. McCarthy cites an article posted by Senator Pat Toomey at Real Clear Politics yesterday.
Senator Toomey states:
“On last Sunday morning’s talk shows, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner once again implied that, if the debt limit is not promptly raised, the United States will default on its debt and the resulting catastrophe will be the fault of congressional Republicans.
“But Secretary Geithner knows that congressional delay in raising the debt limit will in no way cause a default on our national debt. If Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling, the federal government will still have more than enough money to fully service our debt. Next year, about 7 percent of all projected federal government expenditures will go to interest on our debt. Tax revenue is projected to cover at least 70 percent of all government expenditures. So, under any circumstances, there will be plenty of money to pay our creditors.”
Last month an op-ed in the Washington Times reported:
“While it is true Congress has never before refused to raise the debt ceiling, it has frequently taken its sweet time to do so. In 1985, Congress waited nearly three months after the debt limit was reached before authorizing a permanent increase. In 1995, 4 1/2 months passed between hitting the ceiling and congressional action. And in 2002, Congress delayed raising the debt ceiling for three months. In each case, the U.S. and the economy survived.”
The Washington Times further reports:
“[F]ederal revenues will reach $2.17 trillion this fiscal year. Interest payments on the nation’s debt are estimated to be $205 billion this year, or about 10 percent of revenues. Taking that payment off the top, as Mr. Toomey’s plan would, leaves $1.9 trillion for Congress to spend. That’s enough to pay for Social Security ($741 billion), Medicare ($488 billion), and Medicaid ($276 billion), with $395 billion left for other programs.”
That would be the fiscally responsible way to deal with the situation.
Mr. McCarthy concludes:
“The people running this government are never going to deal with this untenable situation unless and until it becomes untenable for them. The only way that will happen is if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling and forces the administration to prioritize payment of those obligations that must be paid to maintain our full faith and credit — for as Kevin and Veronique point out, this already perilous situation could be blown sky high if the interest rate we must pay to borrow spikes. Only when there is no way around it will we get serious consideration of what government should and should not do, and what kind of welfare state the public is willing to pay for.
“If we put it off, if we expand the credit card of a bankrupt Washington whose credit card needs to be cut to pieces right now, not only will our dire straits get worse. We won’t get to deal with them — we will be at the mercy of how they deal with us when the music finally stops.”
The Republicans in Congress need to have the backbone to stop the President from raising the debt ceiling. I don’t know if that is what will actually happen. What I suspect will happen is that the White House will say that if the debt ceiling is not raised, the military will not be paid, Social Security will not be paid, etc. There will be statements that the United States as we know it will be ‘over’ if the debt ceiling is not raised. President Obama has already stated that when he voted against raising the debt ceiling as a Senator, he was only being political. Now he is doing the right thing by asking that it be raised. If anyone believes that, he ought to be stopped from voting!
We don’t need to raise the debt ceiling. We don’t need to raise taxes. We need to stop the spending. If the current Republicans do not have the backbone to do that, then we need new Republicans.