Right Hooks

Congress Must Raise Debt Ceiling to Pay Debts, Again

Congress is the strongest when it manages the purse strings well.

Dan Gilmore · Oct. 16, 2015
By all means, let's pile on more debt to take our country far. Photo courtesy Peter Krimbacher, Wikimedia Commons

The gap between what the American government spends and what it can afford shrunk 9% from last year’s budget. But that step forward will probably be followed by two steps back, as analysts say Congress has until Nov. 16 to raise the debt ceiling — a move necessary to pay a $33.8 billion interest payment. Failure to make the payment would result in a shakeup of the nation’s fragile economy, and possibly result in a downgrade in the country’s credit rating. Members of Congress who have picked up the thankless charge to improve the country’s finances see this as another opportunity to negotiate away some of Barack Obama’s expenditures. But it’s a losing game, politically. It’s foundational to healthy finances to pay debts on time, and so, the debt ceiling must be raised from its $18.1 trillion cap. Then again, healthy finances mean not incurring so much debt in the first place. The Obama administration can’t help but twist the political knife over the situation. “There’s no reason for us to engage in that kind of irresponsible brinksmanship,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said. “And it’s why Republican leaders in Congress need to accept the responsibility that they have to act without drama and delay to raise the debt limit.” A solution? Voters should elect a fiscally solid Republican who knows that Congress is the strongest when it manages the purse strings well.

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