Monday, July 11, 2011

The Audacity of Framing the Discussion

Obama infuriates me; this is probably not a surprise to regular readers here. However, in this case it's not his policies, his socialist ideology, or his dictatorial approach which is currently most aggravating. The thing which is currently bugging me is his approach to the debt ceiling debate, and the complacency of the main stream media not calling him out on it.

Now granted, it's a good strategy, and as a shrewd political move I can find no particular fault. Essentially, what he has done is frame the discussion as one where raising the debt ceiling is an inevitability, a fundamental job of Congress, and everything else is partisan politics. From the beginning of his involvement, there was no mention of the "right" or "wrong" of spending without limit, or any mention of deficit reduction, or taxes, or anything else; it was just "this obviously must be done", and nothing else. Only later did he introduce the other issues into the rhetoric, but being careful to label them as "distractions" from the "basic responsibility" of Congress.

Take a moment, and consider the audacity of the position. If you were hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and you started a conversation with your credit cards companies by telling them that it was their "obvious, basic, fundamental job" to extended you more credit without hesitation, and any other concerns they had were simply distractions from their responsibility, how do you think they would respond? Yeah... they probably wouldn't share your opinion, and might even laugh at the absurdity. Yet, this is exactly what Obama is doing, and the media, by and large, just goes along.

There was a very informative article from a small publication about what would happen if Congress didn't act. The Treasury (and by extension, the president, since it's in his branch) would need to decide what bills to pay, and which to not pay, based on the actual revenue coming in. Now, there's only a few hundred billion annually in interest on Treasury bonds, which is the "real" national debt service, the part which puts us in actual default if we don't pay. Everything else (social security, medicare, military, government bureaucrat salaries, etc.) is a voluntary obligation, per the laws passed by Congress. If the government doesn't pay those, it's not in default, it just doesn't have the money to pay all its obligations. Sure that's bad, but is it really that bad?

I'm not sure that I want Obama deciding which programs get funding and which don't, but... I really do want the government to not bankrupt itself with the Democrats' reckless spending, and there doesn't seem to be any other way to force reductions in expenditures. If forcing the Treasury to make the hard choices is the only way to actually reduce spending, because Congress is too childish to suck it up, and the president is too irresponsible to sign off on real spending controls... well, there are worse options for the country. It's not chicken, Mr President... it's the last best hope we the people have against you.


  1. I just started reading your blog. I like it. Good, intelligent thoughts.

    I feel like I should point out that Obama didn't invent the national deficit though. The US has been running a deficit since the Federal Reserve was created. In fact, our entire money supply is basically debt. (Have you seen Zeitgeist Addendum? If not, check it out). Throughout past presidents, raising the debt ceiling Has been a "basic responsibility" of congress. As Obama recently pointed out, it was raised 18 times under Reagan. The fact that congress recently decided to switch gears and make it a fight-to-the-end stand, is a new thing. It makes sense and I know congress doesn't have the ability to pass anything they want under ordinary circumstances, so they're only realistic option is to in effect hold things hostage that basically need to happen. But you can't really blame Obama for thinking of raising the debt ceiling in the old way it was always done (routine), instead of the new way it may or may not be done (drag out fight).

    Anyway, peace.

  2. True enough: the assumption might be fair, but the intentional disregard for the underlying problem is what aggravates me. That is, if Obama wasn't vastly increasing the debt (faster than anyone else in history), and he was busy working on and passing spending reductions, and just hit the ceiling during that time, I'd feel much more inclined to support the "raise it again is necessary" position. I also certainly fault Congress for allocating far more in spending than they allowed through borrowing.

    My point remains, however: the Obama administration's actions are a huge contributor to the problem, and not only has he refused to even discuss the real problem, but he has the audacity to essentially state that Congress continuing to be an enabler for unprecedented fiscal irresponsibility is their basic duty to the country. That, I find intolerable.