So let’s see how this one works.
Our government makes commitments to spend money it does not have. Then it has to go out and borrow the money. All of this spending has led to a boatload of debt; more like a cruise ship or a fleet of cruise ships. Our national debt is now $16.7 trillion. Interesting to note that in 2006, then-Senator Obama called a proposed increase in the debt ceiling at the time a “failure of leadership,” when Republican President George W. Bush was in office. The borrowing limit has since been increased seven times during Obama’s term in the White House, from $11.3 trillion to the current $16.7 trillion, for a net increase of $5.4 trillion. That is a lot of zeroes and an awful lot of spending, don’t you think.
The U.S. has started using final extraordinary measures to avoid a breach of the nation’s debt limit, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said as he pressed Congress to increase borrowing authority “immediately.” Lew, in a letter addressed to House Speaker John Boehner dated yesterday, repeated that the measures will be exhausted no later than Oct. 17. When that happens, “we will be left to meet our country’s commitments at that time with only approximately $30 billion,” he said, “far short of net expenditures on certain days, which can be as high as $60 billion.” So on some days we spend upwards of $60 billion. That’s some big bucks.
I think the way it works for most of us is that we actually make a budget. We calculate our monthly income, estimate our planned and unplanned expenses, what we want to save or invest and then we see what type of other discretionary income we have. I am quite sure this is how the majority of those 800,000 furloughed government workers manage their budgets and also how many of you manage your budgets. Oh that’s right, our government does not have a budget. The last time that we had a full-on, real-life federal budget that was signed into law was 1997. Bill Clinton was president, and Newt Gingrich was speaker of the House. By my calculations that was 16 years ago. 16 years, no budget. We don’t need no stinking budget!
No budget, no restraints on spending, government is shut down, government workers are not getting paid and the solution is to figure out a way to raise the debt ceiling so we can borrow more money. And this resolution may or may not result in getting the government open again. How it is that or leaders can continue to get away with this?
Meet with your wife, husband, domestic partner or significant other this weekend and ask them to just raise the debt ceiling on the family finances. Tell them this is what the government does and they work for us. If they can do it, we can do it. Let’s see how far that conversation will get you.