In the past 40 years, Congress and the president have failed to agree on a debt ceiling increase nine times, yet there was no default. The truth is the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires that debt payments come first before any other spending. In late 1996, there was a three-week period when some of the government shut down following a similar battle over the debt ceiling. There was no default.
President Clinton used the revenues that were coming in to pay the interest on the debt. Now, President Obama claims that he doesn't know if there is money to send out Social Security checks on Aug. 3. In truth, he knows very well that enough money will be available, not only to pay the interest on debt, but also to cover all Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, children's health insurance, defense, federal law enforcement and immigration, all veterans benefits and response to natural disasters. Terrifying older people may make good politics but it is unconscionable.
It is interesting to note that in March 2006, a similar debt limit debate raged in Washington. As the then junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama expressed his view on raising the debt $781 billion to a new record of $8.965 trillion. He is quoted as saying: "The fact that we are debating raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Increasingly, America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means 'the buck stops here. ' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today to the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. America deserves better!"
Today, President Obama's program includes a 28 percent spending hike since 2008 and more than $3 trillion in deficits plus a proposed budget that increases debt by $10 trillion over the next decade. Never once has he publicly proposed a single structural change to any entitlement.
It is time for President Obama, his administration and the Democratic politicians to stop scaring people and start cutting government spending as he promised during the 2008 campaign. Heeding fiscally sound Republican proposals, like HR 2560 "Cut, Cap & Balance," which passed the House but failed in the Democrat-led Senate, would have been an excellent start.
Nancy H. Lemer is past-president of the Peninsula Republican Women. She lives in Atherton.
Editor's Note: This article was written July 25 and edited July 29, before a possible resolution of the debt ceiling problem. This story contains 490 words. If you are a paid subscriber, check to make sure you have
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