Refusal to Stop the Time Bomb

A protester depicts the frustration of the American people towards government officials

I must preface this post by saying that I lean toward a conservative political ideology, but after digging deeper into the viewpoints of liberals regarding the government shutdown and debt crisis, I understand their point of view.  Republicans were essentially holding the nation’s economy hostage in leaving the government unopened and threatening not to raise the debt ceiling if Obamacare is not repealed.  I agree that targeting the Affordable Care Act, the legacy of President Obama’s term, was a poor move because even if Republicans could muscle their way into getting enough votes to edit the legislation through Congress, the President would veto it.

That being said, Democrats are just as much to blame as Republicans.  They refused to negotiate on any terms unless the government was first opened and the debt ceiling was raised long-term. Harry Reid essentially was telling Republicans to concede to all of the Democrats’ terms and then negotiations will begin. This caused strict partisanship and lengthened the government shutdown, as Republicans could not find any common ground with Democrats.  Even when many Republicans gave up on reforming Obamacare and merely wanted to talk about general budget cuts, Democrats would not budge, mainly because they believed that Republicans would bear the blame for anything that happened to the economy as a result of the stalemate.  Politicians, both Republicans and Democrats need to stop worrying about who they can blame (to keep their jobs) and worry more about America’s future.

Due to the threat of default, Republicans agreed to reopen the government through January 15th, 2014 and increase the debt ceiling through February 7th, 2014 without budget cuts .  This short-term deal allows negotiations to occur without the risk of government default, which would be catastrophic to the U.S> economy.  For America to survive in the future, legislators need to make budget cuts. If we continue to fund the government on a deficit, our interest payments will continue to increase until it is eventually impossible to avoid default.  Our debt is currently greater than $17 trillion (that’s 12 zeros) and climbing.  Politicians need to stop worrying about being reelected by continuing to fund non-vital government programs.  Painful cuts need to be made in order to sustain America’s future and though they may be unpopular for many, they are absolutely necessary so that we don’t end up like Greece down the road.  The clock is ticking and lawmakers need to do something to stop the time bomb.


11 comments on “Refusal to Stop the Time Bomb

  1. I enjoy how you showed that there are two sides to this debacle in Washington. Many columnists show clear bias and refuse to write in counter arguments that might put their opinion up for debate. This disallows the reader full knowledge of the issue and their learned opinion might be misinformed.

  2. Jason, I agree with you that the shutdown was childish, and that a refocus on the things that really matter is the key to America’s rebound. But, I would like to focus on your concluding paragraph. I think that it may go as far as the setup of our short terms for congressman and senators. It makes it so these politicians need to “prove” themselves to get re-elected. Also, businesses are pressured to seek short term profits, because American investors are really just short term speculators looking for the next hot stock to buy and then sell. And, us as American society are demanding in our consuming mindset that “bigger and better” is the key to a “better” life.
    I agree that we all need to be introspective and focus our efforts on the things that will promise a more prosperous future. We need to pull back our rapacious consuming attitude that has flooded the investing world and our government. The US has to focus on good business, honest and effective government legislation, and also rethink our over consuming mentality.

  3. I suggest we abolish the debt ceiling law to begin with. It invites cake-and-eat-it votes. If we want congress to pass budgets without deficit, then why not just do it in the first place. These “debt ceilings” are utterly predictable as they are a consequence of prior votes on deficit budgets.

    Personally, I am not so worried about short term debt while we limp along with anemic job recovery, crumbling infrastructure, and a lost generation of 20-somethings who face a career of lowered earnings through which they can support the country.

    Halve the military budget. Raise minimum retirement to 67. Boom. Debt problems gone.

    • I like the idea of abolishing the debt ceiling and forcing Congress to make the tough decisions as to where we should allocate our resources. Congress would have to decide what is important and have to actually do their jobs. With regard to my Greece comment, that threat isn’t imminent but could become a possibility if our interest expense becomes so high that we cannot pay it with our tax revenues and cash on hand. Right now it’s roughly 25% of revenue (6% of total spending), but will grow as our national debt continues to rise, which will be a major problem 25 years down the road. I just hope Congress can get its act together before then.

      • Well, it is getting its act together somewhat sooner based on the charts we saw today. The rate of growth of the debt is flattening. If we can get more jobs, more growth that is broad-based, slow down growth of health care and education costs, and, to me, cut some military spending, we would go a long way towards lowering debt through a healthier economy (notice, no tax increases in my list).

  4. Damnit. I had a long comment get erased.

    Basically it was this: we have almost always had some debt. So, simply having debt by itself is not a problem. What you are buying in the future with today’s borrowing is what matters. Personally, ore infrastructure, research, and education sounds good to me. Redistribution of taxes to the wealthy, prisons, battleships, and avoiding paying for social security, not so much….

    By the way, Greece at the moment of crisis had 175% of its (much smaller) GDP in debt. We are at 75% and going DOWN now, for the next year or so.

  5. Great post. What really stood out to me was your comment that “Politicians need to stop worrying about being reelected by continuing to fund non-vital government programs.” This is the root of so many issues in politics. How can we move forward as a country if the people running our country are trying to save face and be charismatic leaders rather than focus on the task at hand?

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