News Flash: The Government Has A Spending Problem

Having established that the so-called government shutdown isn’t that big of a deal (see here and here), it’s time to move on to the next big thing in Washington, D.C. – the debate over raising the federal government’s debt limit (or debt ceiling). First, the skinny: On or about October…

Having established that the so-called government shutdown isn’t that big of a deal (see here and here), it’s time to move on to the next big thing in Washington, D.C. – the debate over raising the federal government’s debt limit (or debt ceiling).

First, the skinny: On or about October 17 the federal government will exhaust its borrowing capacity. This means it will either have to authorize additional borrowing or stop paying some of its bills. If that sounds like something you’ve heard before, it should.

Two years ago the government agreed to what we referred to as the debt dereliction deal – an agreement to immediately extend the debt limit by an unprecedented amount in exchange for the promise of spending cuts over the coming decade.

Fiscal conservatives rejected that deal … but they didn’t have enough votes to stop it.

“At the end of the day, Washington’s spending still has us sprinting towards a fiscal cliff,” U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney said after voting against the deal. “And this bill barely slows us down.”

Mulvaney was right.

To date only $42 billion in actual cuts tied to this “grand bargain” have been enacted, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Meanwhile the government blew through an astounding $2.4 trillion in new borrowing capacity in just seventeen months.

Now the national debt has soared all the way to $16.97 trillion … and the same negotiators are back at the table. But has anything changed?

No …

“Same political dysfunction,” writes F.F. Wiley at Cyniconomics. “Same blue team indifference to soaring government debt. Same hypocrisy from those on the red team who helped set debt on its upward trajectory. Same lack of any serious effort to tackle the most important issue – the unsustainable paths of our major entitlement programs.”

It wasn’t always that way, though.

There was a time when the leader of the blue team – U.S President Barack Obama – claimed the moral high ground on debt reduction. In fact below is his statement from the journal of the U.S. Senate back in 2006 – when it was Congressional “Republicans” looking to ramp up government’s unsustainable deficit spending.

(Click to enlarge)

debt ceiling

Everybody get that? Here it is one more time …

Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

Exactly … EXACTLY.

Unfortunately, “Republicans” didn’t listen to Obama on runaway spending then … and Obama and fiscally liberal “Republicans” aren’t listening to common sense now. And that’s why any “deal” that ends up getting cut over the debt ceiling will be more of the same … massive immediate borrowing accompanied by promises to reduce spending in the future.

Which will do nothing to solve the problem … and will in fact only add destructive power to the ticking time bomb that’s about to blow up all over future generations of American taxpayers.

In other words? Eat drink and be merry, people …

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MashPotato October 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm

The hypocrisy of both parties is profoundly obvious. Why can’t people see it?

idcydm October 7, 2013 at 10:49 pm

“Why can’t people see it?”…some people = sheeple

Get Real October 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm Reply
Will Folks aka Sic October 7, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Did we not call out the GOP in the article above? Curious how we are guilty of “lying” when we called out both of the parties …

idcydm October 7, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Get Real here’s a quote for you:

“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s
irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.” – Barack Obama, July 3, 2008

$9 trillion to $17 trillion and he wants more, my question, how much more?

Guest Poster October 7, 2013 at 11:03 pm

That’s addressed in the article Get Real posted. Didn’t you read it?

idcydm October 7, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Is your reading comprehension that bad, may comment isn’t about his vote.

johnq October 8, 2013 at 3:22 am

idcydm, here are some quotes for you-

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never
stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and
neither do we.” – George Bush Washington, D.C., August 5, 2004

“Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”

George Bush Florence, South Carolina; January 11, 2000

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee—I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, ‘Fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.'”

George Bush Nashville, Tennessee; September 17, 2002

Frank Pytel October 8, 2013 at 5:02 am

Heres a quote for you johnq and the rest of the community who continue to use less forethought than lemmings.

“Have a Great Day!! :) There won’t be many left with the Demlicans and Republicrats in charge. :)”

Frank Pytel

idcydm October 8, 2013 at 8:27 am

johnq, since Bush isn’t President anymore and can do no more damage explain to me the relevance of your post.

The Colonel October 8, 2013 at 10:20 am

“I’ve now been in 57 states — I think one left to go.” (And no, he wasn’t trying to be funny)

“In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.” (Speaking about a Kansas tornado that killed 12 people)

“The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries.” (Yeah, the region and the rest of the world)

“We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad.” (Really? what continents did it connect?)

“One such translator was an American of Haitian descent, representative of the extraordinary work that our men and women in uniform do all around the world — Navy Corpse-Man Christian Brossard.” (the word is pronounced “coreman”)

“The reforms we seek would bring greater competition, choice, savings and inefficiencies to our health care system.” (probably the most accurate thing he’s ever said)

MaceSucks October 8, 2013 at 7:50 am

It’s a shame you don’t understand that not raising the debt ceiling means defaulting on bills already incurred, ruining the full faith and credit of the U.S. It does not automatically allow for more spending. That’s what the CR – that the Boehner won’t allow a vote on – does. And that CR actually funds the government at levels Republicans requested, not Democrats. That was part of the deal that Boehner and Reid made, but now Boehner, pressured by Tea Party goons, won’t honor the deal and bring the CR up for a vote. He’s also going to default on bills already incurred because of the same pressure. It’s not both parties, it’s one – the GOP.

idcydm October 8, 2013 at 8:50 am

Did I say the debt ceiling should not be raised? The irony of this Obama statement, I agree with him, I also agree with his 2006 statement before his no vote on the debt ceiling.

Keep telling yourself it is just the GOP if it makes you feel better.

VigilantEye October 8, 2013 at 9:35 am

It’s time for us to recognize that the Tea Party’s unwillingness to compromise threatens the stability of our country. This nation was built on the wisdom of statesmanship…something these TP goons never learned. Statesmanship is true leadership for the country as a whole. The TP philosophy offers a benefit for a small number at the expense of many.

Smirks October 8, 2013 at 10:05 am

Argh… I hate it when people bring up China regarding the national debt. They only own about a trillion of it, and Japan owns about the same amount. T’was true then, is true now. (I know this is an Obama quote, just saying.)


Keep in mind that $4 trillion in debt was racked up under Bush during fairly prosperous economic times, thanks in no small part to two wars, unchecked spending, and tax cuts that Republicans claimed would increase tax revenues but clearly reduced them. Lower revenues and more spending both contribute to deficits. The unbalanced budget certainly didn’t help when we hit a recession, either.

I think Obama should have just let the Bush tax cuts expire, and there should’ve been more cuts in spending, so I do agree that Obama is at fault for not reducing the deficits more than what’s been done already. We need to make more headway. Each CR should have small tweaks to lower the deficit in some way so that we can slowly step down the spending at least, and really, we need to get back to passing budgets.

idcydm October 8, 2013 at 10:37 am

“…That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”

Good for one good for all, all else is rhetoric.

The Colonel October 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Not sure what you’re talking about Smirks according to the IRS tax revenue was up every year from 2000-2006 except 2003. ’03 was off by about $50,000,000,0000 and that was the year the tax cuts went into effect. ’04 was up by almost 60 billion and every year after that was up by more than 40 billion.

katfay October 8, 2013 at 9:08 am

Any argument/discussion on debt ceiling/any numbers produced by gov organizations is infantile and distracting. Gov organizations are rampantly malfunctioning, rendering any/all data produced by these organizations, unpredictably unreliable. Public resources at all levels are consumed by private misuse/misdirection of politicians and their org operators subordinates. Until citizens understand, respect, and act to enforce rule of law on operator subordinates, it’s futile to gossip like little old ladies watching soap operas, about the ever increasing deterioration of the organizations citizens created, and own.

idcydm October 8, 2013 at 9:37 am

I agree, except for the “gossip…little old ladies”, nothing like alienating those you are trying to reach.

katfay October 8, 2013 at 10:41 am

Concur. Glad to be reminded, as tact is a skill I struggle to meet even minimum competency. Like the gifts each of us possess, mine has a double edge. Performs outstandingly in some areas, lauded for direct unabashed technical truth during career. Giant liability in other areas. W

VigilantEye October 8, 2013 at 9:51 am

By “law” I assume you’re ready to also enforce the law that created The Affordable Care Act…a law that was passed by both houses, signed by the president, and upheld by a majority of the Supreme Court. So why id the TP arguing that it’s unconstitutional. According to my chicks teacher in high school, it seems to have passed the rule of law.

VigilantEye October 8, 2013 at 9:53 am

I meant “civics.” Not “chicks.” Damn autotype.

Smirks October 8, 2013 at 9:54 am

lol… Great typo, thought you were talking about your girlfriend’s teacher or something.

katfay October 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

I don’t connote rule of law to mean any law that’s passed. I mean citizen rules enacted by our own free will, that embody our inherent authority to rule by our own free will, which includes control over our gov orgs, through control over org operators, who adhere to these rules. Laws are an output of gov orgs. Gov orgs are systemically malfunctioning. Output: goods, services, and laws (enacted by org operators): is dishonestly warped with imbibed self interest of org operators. Real rule of law: embodying only our will, interests, and needs.

katfay October 8, 2013 at 11:03 am

Addition: Affordable Care Act, debating any laws concerning health care is moot without addressing structure of US healthcare on which ACA rests, such as mechanism by which HHS bypasses FOIA and Procedures act requirements, Fed Acq Regs, and leverages the real cost of medicaid/care onto every single medical product to artificially deflate costs. Requires understanding what true standard is (look at UL, house elec code, etc). Users of true standards don’t pay royalties to standards owner for every product sold (every lamp, electric wire, etc.). Unlike every medical product, software in doctors office, piece of paper (electronic) bill you get, which includes at least two tiers of private profit to AMA for embedded proprietary codes. Too much to go through here.

tomstickler October 8, 2013 at 9:19 am

The US government has been spending less, even in the face of a recession that all sane economists know is the time to increase government spending.

The real problem with the US is reducing taxes for the very folks who brought us this recession, in the false belief that they would use their windfall to “create jobs.”

The economic recovery from this recession has been held back by this false “need” for austerity. The Eurozone and Britain have been making the same mistake.

For a lesson in how to turn things around, take a look at the eighth largest economy in the world — California — to see how to go from deficit to surplus practically overnight. The solution? Elect a Democratic Governor and supermajorities of Democrats in their House and Senate, tell Republicans to back off, cut spending AND raise taxes. Next on their agenda? Single-payer health care.

Smirks October 8, 2013 at 9:49 am

When Obama made that statement, the economy had not yet hit the recession. Also, he and his fellow Democrats did not force a government shutdown just to get what they wanted.

Meanwhile, Boehner facilitates 42 attempts on repealing or defunding the Affordable Care Act knowing they were doomed to failure in the Senate, but can’t allow one single vote on a clean continuing resolution to validate his claim that there “aren’t enough votes for it to pass.”

The government has a governing problem, and its name is the Tea Party.

The Colonel October 9, 2013 at 5:44 am

But, but, but just a couple of months ago y’all were all saying theat the TeaParty was dead…

Time for change October 8, 2013 at 10:46 am

It is about time that we Americans get together and clean out the government. It may have worked for 200 years but it has been shaken by careless spending thus raising the debt ceiling and not leaving enough money to enable us to have good health care. Why don’t we kick the men out and let the women run the place and see what they can do. Never underestimate the power of women!

Crooner October 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm

One cannot “negotiate” with Boehner, because he can’t deliver the votes. He’s not the one with authority. That was made plain during the last go ’round when the “grand bargain” was nearly struck. As W said, fool me once…


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