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No Revenues? Forget Raising the Debt Ceiling

As I write this entry, Congressional Republicans have broken off talks over raising the federal debt ceiling. Speaker Boehner and Rep Cantor have declared any sort of tax increases off the table and walked out until such time as Democrats agree to a “spending cuts only” package.

If history is any guide, the Democrats will cave in after a few days, citing the need to keep the economy from imploding. Since 2006, Democrats have caved on every major policy challenge. I had hopes this would change with the election of President Obama, but it did not. The Democrats blew the last best chance to slow the growth of the debt when they caved to Republican demands to extend the Bush tax cuts. They couldn’t even handle doing nothing right.

But I’m in a venting mood tonight and wish for the Congressional Dems to stand firm on the principle that we need a balanced approach to the debt. I want them to point out that if we’re never willing to raise taxes ever again, then our credit is indeed truly worthless and there’s no point to expanding debt we seem to have no intention of repaying. If not raising the debt ceiling means less money for drone warfare or occupation, I’m all for it.

I’d also like them to consistently point out that federal Republican plans, like Rep. Ryan’s actually increase the deficit as a result of their insistence on additional tax cuts. And that they’d rather end the debt farce now than signing on to tax cuts that will increase the deficit.

That’s what I’d like to see. I bet the Republicans would blink because they want to protect the financial community that would finally feel some real pain if we actually defaulted on our debt. As would we all. But I don’t think the Democrats have the guts for it. They wouldn’t hold the line on ending the Bush tax cuts, which would have been politically easier than risking the debt ceiling. So I don’t expect them to take a hard, principled stand now.

There’s definitely a place for spending cuts. A place for a hard conversation on what the purpose of government is and what we as a people are willing to pay for. But until we do decide what government is for, we have to pay for what we are doing. That takes taxes. Not just on us, but on the US corporations who are dumping millions into our elections and not paying one cent in taxes.

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One Response

  1. I agree entirely with your post. Apparently we are the only two adults in the room.

    It really sucks.

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