Debt Ceiling Scorecard

F*ckin’ Republicans…they spend all the money and then when it’s time to raise the debt ceiling to pay for what they spent they drag their feet right up to the August deadline. WTF?! That is some lame-ass politicking bullshit. Republicans are the problem. The truest words David Brooks ever wrote: “Republicans are not fit to govern.”

source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/opinion/05brooks.html

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source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/us/politics/28default.html

EXCERPTS:

[My words in brackets.]

“As a senator, Mr. Obama voted against raising the [debt] limit himself [in 2006, when George W. Bush was maxing out America’s credit card to the tune of $Trillions of Dollars$ giving tax cuts for the majority benefit of the Superwealthy and sending us on a wild-goose chase for non-existent WMDs in Iraq – yeah, while Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan the whole time]….

“Q. How many times has the debt ceiling been raised, and by whom?

A. It has been a bipartisan exercise. By the Treasury Department’s count, Congress has acted 78 times since 1960 to raise, extend or alter the definition of the debt limit — 49 times under Republican presidents, and 29 times under Democratic presidents. The Obama administration has taken pains to note that President Ronald Reagan, a hero to many Republicans in Congress, raised the debt limit. In a letter on the debt ceiling last month to Republicans in the Senate, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner quoted a letter Mr. Reagan wrote a generation ago, urging Congress to increase the debt limit. ‘The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate,’ he quoted Mr. Reagan as writing. ‘Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and on the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result.’

Q. How has the debt risen this high, and how much are we paying in interest as a nation?

A. The United States has not always operated with such a large debt. After financing World War II with substantial borrowing, the outstanding debt held pretty stable for the next 25 years, going up to $283 billion in 1970 from $242 billion in 1946. But over the last 30 years, the debt has increased under every president — with the biggest increase under President George W. Bush, who cut taxes, added a drug benefit to Medicare and fought two wars. As the debt has grown, so have the country’s interest payments. In 2003, for instance, the government paid about $150 billion in interest costs; this year it is up to $250 billion. These interest payments are taking up more federal spending now than federal outlays on education, transportation and housing and urban development combined. Though the interest costs are substantial, they have remained lower than some economists predicted because the world has continued to lend money to the United States at very low interest rates, even as the nation’s debt has grown….

Q. Republicans and Democrats alike keep talking about the need to reduce the federal deficit. Won’t refusing to raise the debt limit cut the deficit?

A. No. The debt limit, or ceiling, which is the amount that the nation is allowed to borrow, must be raised if the United States is to pay for all the things that Congress has already bought: the spending in the budget bills it has already passed, the Social Security checks promised to retirees, the payments due to private companies with federal contracts and the interest on bonds it has sold. Washington has long spent more money than it takes in, and planned to make up the difference with borrowing. Both parties agree that this cannot go on forever. But if the debt limit is not raised, it will not cut the nation’s deficit or allow the government to get out of its existing obligations. It will simply make it impossible to borrow the money that the government needs to pay for them….

The Bipartisan Policy Center analysis notes that if the government were to choose to pay the interest on its debt, Social Security benefits, Medicaid and Medicare payments, defense contractors and unemployment benefits, it could not have enough left to pay for the salaries of federal workers and members of the military, Pell grants for college, highway construction or tax refunds, among other things….

Then, consumers could also feel the pinch: because the interest rates paid by corporations and consumers in the United States are tied to the rate the nation pays, interest rates could go up for everything from credit cards to mortgages. A homeowner with a mortgage for $100,000 might see her annual mortgage costs go up by $100 to $200 a year, economists say.”

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