Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Debt Ceiling has nothing to do with controlling Federal spending

Republicans are being dishonest about the debt ceiling fight, and the liberally biased media is letting them do so, either out of cowardice or ignorance -- probably both.

Congress controls spending and taxing.  The President and Executive branch can only spend money that Congress has authorized.  Congress determines the extent to which the government will run surpluses or deficits by controlling the mix to taxes to spending.  Like any legislative process, the President plays a role.  The President is required by law to submit to Congress a budget with recommendations for spending and taxation, and can veto any budget bill with which he might disagree.  None of this has anything to do with the debt ceiling.

When the Treasury doesn't have sufficient funds to pay all the bills authorized by Congress, it borrows money to cover those costs.

Independent of the budgeting process, Congress, starting in 1939, imposes a debt ceiling as we know it today.

Here is the important part: debt ceiling or not, the President and Treasury can only pay bills authorized by Congress.   By refusing to raise the debt ceiling, Congress isn't raining in an out of control President, they are refusing to pay bills they have already authorized.

Refusing to raise the debt ceiling is the equivalent of you or I deciding to rein in our personal spending by refusing to pay our credit card bill. 

Here is an example.  Congress authorized the purchase of 32 F-35 fighter aircraft from Lockheed Martin in FY 2012 at a cost of several billion dollars.  In reliance on the Congressional authorization and the DoD order, Lockheed Martin shelled out the cost to manufacture these very expensive aircraft.  But if Congress doesn't allow the Treasury to borrow money, Treasury can't pay Lockheed Martin for doing what Congress ask them to do.

If Congress doesn't increase the debt ceiling, Treasury also can't pay interest on Treasury debt that Congress allowed by previous debt ceilings.

The action of House Republicans who want to hold the credit rating of the United States hostage to force their will on all Americans is outrageous and irresponsible.  The U.S dollar is current the international reserve currency which does benefit out economy by bringing lots of foreign money to our shores.  If House Republicans blow this, the economy will suffer for generations.

If Congress wants to rein in Federal spending, all they have to do is actually stop spending.   Don't buy 2500 outrageously priced f-35 fighters would be a great start.

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