During his eight years in office, Barack Obama is on pace to have increased the national debt by a horrific $8 trillion — and, ironically, the folks on Wall Street and the mavens of the media still portray congressional Republicans as the fiscal bad boys for trying to slow down the blizzard of borrowing.
So here we go again. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced this week that Congress will bump up against the current debt ceiling in early November and he and Obama want a “clean” debt extension with no strings attached. Lew says that failure to pass a debt ceiling on time will rile Wall Street and put in jeopardy America’s “strong and steady growth” (sic).
Meanwhile, outgoing House Speaker John Boehner says he will “clean the barn” on this issue before he leaves office, and some are interpreting this as a sign that he will avoid conflict and agree to Obama’s demands. The plan being hatched would raise the debt limit by another $1 trillion or even $2 trillion to get past the election.
Some on the left argue that we should not even have a federal debt ceiling, that the government should have a rubber stamp to borrow at will. For the big spenders in both parties, this would conveniently eliminate one of the last checks and balances against runaway spending.
For conservative Republicans to agree to Obama’s blackmail demands would be lousy policy and even worse politics. Washington and Wall Street may not be at all concerned about an $18-trillion debt, but voters sure are.
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