The conversation in Washington D.C. for weeks had centered, for the most part, on how much our leaders are willing to listen to the American people and head down the path to financial responsibility by taking steps to curtail the burden on our sons and daughters. The budget produced by the House of Representatives that passed Friday was more of a flinch than a step in the right direction. The final amount cut from spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office, was a less-than-whopping $352 million. This rate is much lower than the $38 billion advertised and the $100 billion promised earlier, to be exact the actual cuts made are just under one percent of the promise and they are just minutia compared to the $3.8 trillion national budget. To put this in comparison, the average income in Southwest Missouri is about $33,000, so the cut that Congress man is equivalent to you cutting your annual budget by about $3.05.
Now with these modest budget cuts, that were nearly to blame for shutting down the government, behind us, the discussion will soon turn to raising the debt ceiling. In February of last year, the debt ceiling was raised to $14.294 TRILLION with an unprecedented increase of $1.9 trillion dollars (over double what it had been raised before.) Currently, our national debt is approaching 96% of our Gross Domestic Product, around a 35% increase of what it was only four years ago.
Increasing the debt ceiling has been characterized by those on the left as necessary, Obama has claimed that defaulting on the debt could "plunge the world economy back into a recession" and Treasury Secretary Geithner claimed that the discussion regarding NOT raising the debt ceiling could be "catastrophic." Geithner told news sources this weekend that "Congress will raise the debt ceiling" and seemed unperturbed by anything to contrary. Now, it seems that Republican leadership may continue to pander to the left instead of fixing government spending. But what would be the implications if they refused?
Some experts suggest that the danger implied by the left is overstated and that a failure to raise the debt ceiling would simply require the federal government to use its revenue to pay the interest in lieu of contributing to our bloated budget. Options are not limited to blindly raising the ceiling, and must include either putting a hold on the ceiling or pairing the raise with large, meaningful cuts. No family could be sustained by increasing their credit limit amidst encumbering debt, especially without making a serious budget overhaul to ensure that debt is corralled. The government shouldn't be afforded the option, either.
If Republicans are serious about restoring fiscal sanity, they need to say no to increasing the United States' already-maxed-out credit. Conservatives in Washington must show leadership on this issue to regain the people's confidence that was lost in them after failing to make legitimate budget cuts.