Friday, July 15, 2011

L.o.L.o.L. - Lies, or Lack of Leadership

Obama, the Democrats, and the Republicans in Congress have been butting heads for some time over whether or not the federal government's debt ceiling should be raised. Obama and the Democrats originally wanted it raised and the Republicans did not. Now, they're trying to negotiate a "deal." The Republicans say they will only support the raising of the debt ceiling if substantial spending cuts and tax breaks are included. Obama and the Democrats originally said they wanted to raise the debt ceiling and impose tax increases on the "wealthy" to pay for it. Now, the two sides are negotiating. All sorts of stories have come out during the "negotiation." One said that the Republicans would give in to the tax increases. Another one said that Senator Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky had proposed letting Obama raise the debt ceiling all by himself. Where will it end ?

The proponents of raising the debt ceiling say if it's not raised the federal government will default on it's financial obligations. The ones who oppose a debt ceiling increase say no such default will occur. Who's right and who's wrong ? Are we being lied to ? In the last few days, it's gotten rather ugly with Obama trying to scare senior citizens and the disabled by saying that he "... cannot guarantee that those checks (Social Security) will go out ..." if the situation is not resolved. He said the same thing about payments to veterans. He's also challenged Congressman Eric Cantor (R) by saying "... don't call my bluff." Where's the leadership ?

What is the debt ceiling ? Basically, it's the federal government's credit card limit. We've all got credit cards with credit limits. If you're credit card limit is $5000, once you purchase enough on that card to reach that credit limit, which is not advisable, you can't "charge" any more to that card until you pay some of it off. That's basically where the federal government is. They're gonna "hit the limit" on their credit card and can't borrow any more money. So, what do you do if you hit your credit card limit ? You only buy what you've got the cash to pay for. This is where the folks who say the federal government will default on it's financial obligations if the debt ceiling is not raised are wrong. If you and I limited out on our credit cards, we would have to pay cash for everything. The federal government could do the same. They would have to make it by on a cash basis and live within a budget. The problem is they don't want to do that. They're basically addicted to spending money.

In fact, a recent report on reported that there is enough money to pay the government's bills if the ceiling isn't raised. The report was derived from daily reports produced by the U.S. Treasury that reported that current fiscal tax revenue was above projections and was adequate to pay the monthly interest. Furthermore, the same report stated that current revenue is adequate to pay for the interest on current debt, Social Security, Medicare, and the monthly salaries and benefits of federal employees including the military. Interesting, huh ? Now you have to ask yourself, "who's telling the truth ?"

I do not believe there is a need to raise the debt ceiling. The country is indebted too much as it is. The federal government needs to learn to live within it's means like the rest of us. If they are that concerned about running out of money, they need to prioritize spending. Make the necessary payments - i.e. interest, payroll, Social Security, Medicare, defense, etc. Cut the ones that aren't needed. They could start by getting out of Libya, not spending the unused stimulus funds, cutting off foreign aid, cutting off federal employees travel, etc. Heck, Obama and Congress could even take a pay cut and stay at home instead of flying all over the world costing taxpayers millions. I know - that would make too much sense.

So, has Obama and Congress been lying to us or is there just a serious lack of leadership ? You have to make up your own mind, but I believe it's some of both. Think about it for a second. Can you still pay at least some of your important bills if your credit card is maxed out ? Of course you can. You prioritize. Congress and Obama can, too. They are lying to us when they say they can't. In addition, leadership is not shown by scaring people as Obama has attempted to do, and for him to imply, as he did, that he has some sort of control over social security checks is incorrect. If he would take a look a the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, he would see that only Congress has such authority over fiscal matters - not him. There has also been a lack of leadership on both sides of the aisle in Congress. Members have been demonized. Nancy Pelosi has called Republicans "Satan." That's not leadership.

I've been hard on Republicans for the last year or so. However, this time I applaud the ones who are standing strong and saying no to raising the debt ceiling and instead insisting on spending and tax cuts. They must continue to do so, because they are right. They should show leadership by accepting no deals. They were voted in to do just that. They need to stick to their guns - period. Nothing else is acceptable. The problem is that I suspect Obama's scare tactics will work and they will eventually give in, but I hope I'm wrong.

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