Columnist Greg Morin on “debt limit shuffle”

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Greg Morin

Greg Morin

By Greg Morin

It’s that special time of year once again – The Giving Tree in Washington D.C. sheds its last few monetary leaves as fall approaches. The congressional summer recess has left the tree starving for the one thing it needs to flourish and produce those precious greenbacks: BS.

Space constraints compel me to simply address the two most salient points of disinformation making the rounds of the mainstream media.

Fallacy (1): We have to raise the debt ceiling because we as a country are legally committed to making good on all financial obligations made by our government. It’s like agreeing to pay your credit card bill after you charged the goods on it.

FALSE: No, no, no. It is not at all comparable to agreeing to pay your credit card bill (i.e. committing to purchases AFTER funds are secured). The more apt example would be signing a contract to buy a house BEFORE you have secured the ability to pay for it and then going to the bank and demanding a loan because you “have made a commitment buy the house.” Clearly, the only result of raising one’s credit limit every time one goes over said limit would be to instill an overriding sense of restraint and fiscal responsibility. Even if one subscribes to the flimsy moral precept that one has a duty to repay financial obligations made by total strangers who happen to reside in the same geographical region as yourself, it should be clear that shifting the burden of that repayment onto one’s children is the act of a coward. If you believe we have this obligation, fine, then don’t use debt to pay for it, use taxes – raise them through the roof. Because were the present generation to bear the full financial burden of the government programs they pine for they would quickly come to realize they are not so necessary after all.

(2) If we don’t raise the debt limit then the U.S. government will be in default and (insert scare tactic) that would undermine confidence and collapse the financial markets.

FALSE: This is the same line of fallacious reasoning employed by Obama when he compared the only possible outcome of not raising the debt limit to being equivalent to a homeowner simply deciding to not pay his mortgage. So apparently the concept of prioritization has never occurred to Obama? Clearly if one has a pay cut or loses their job their first instinct is to cease their mortgage payments so that they can continue paying their cable bill and manicurist. Duh, no, you prioritize and pay your food, housing and utilities first, then you cut off all non-essentials remaining. So if the projected 2014 budget were $1 we see that the government now collects 84 cents in taxes and can pay out 67 cents to fully fund all debt interest, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and defense payments. Yes, the remaining 33 cents of spending would have to be economized over the 17 cents of remaining revenue, but it would not be the “essential” obligations that for some bizarre reason are perennially assumed would hit the chopping block first.

Continuing to give the addict money because you’re afraid he won’t buy food provides him no incentive to end the addiction because it insulates him from having to make the choice between the addiction or eating. With the money he can have both. Without it, a choice must be made.

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