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Debt ceiling breakdown and bluster



A wheelbarrow of money to buy a loaf of bread, metaphor for inflation. This is what Obama, with his fiscal cliff plan, threatens us with.

The latest round of debt ceiling talks broke down this evening. Given Obama’s attitude, that is unavoidable—and only just.

How the debt ceiling talks broke down

Barack Obama, time to set debt ceiling priorities

As we have asked before: what priorities does Barack Obama have in the debt ceiling debate?

In the early evening, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called the man now holding office as President, Barack H. Obama. His message: he could no longer discuss the debt ceiling with him.

At 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, a visibly angry Obama held a news conference. He asked whether the Republicans could say yes to anything. He said that a deficit-lowering package with tax increases was not only reasonable, but one that even Bill O’Reilly agreed with. (Two hours later, O’Reilly would telephone guest hostess Laura Ingraham to deny flatly that he, O’Reilly, had ever said any such thing.) Then he peremptorily demanded that House and Senate floor leaders and whips meet him at the White House promptly at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow.

New Jersey Tea Party activist Nicholas E. Purpura guffawed at the news.

Those talks should break down! That debt ceiling should never rise. The Republicans must not give an inch. If they cave in this time, they will never bring down the deficit, and we will go toward a Weimar Republic.

Purpura and friend Donald R. Laster Jr have a lawsuit pending against the federal government over the health care reform bill.

In an interview with your editor, Purpura laid out his own plan to deal with the debt, and the debt ceiling. Purpura would defund half the government as unconstitutional. He also would cancel every earmark that the “stimulus bill” (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) included, whether from Republicans or Democrats. He also called for lowering all income-tax rates (especially for corporate taxes) to 20 percent, and eliminating taxes on repatriated income. (The United States is the only country that taxes repatriated income. That, says Purpura, is why so many American companies expand overseas and not in-country.)


Why the debt ceiling talks keep breaking down

This is the second or third time that talks on the debt ceiling have broken down. One possible reason for the breakdowns is that the two sides are poles apart on what a just society looks like, and will likely never get together.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) recently asked what taxes were for. He clearly implied that taxes exist to transfer wealth from the more fortunate to the less fortunate. And he never once made clear why a policy like that is just.

Or wise, either. Dennis Prager, three days ago, published a list of Ten Ways Progressive Policies Harm Society’s Moral Character. The ten ways are really one way: they make people dependent on one another, in a demanding way. Psychologists call this passive-aggressive behavior. In plain English, wealth-transfer policies turn a country’s citizens (or subjects) and lawful residents into losers.

That is the problem with the Democratic Party’s position. For more than two weeks they have held many people up for ransom—people who now depend on the government. More to the point, they want those people to go on being dependent on the government.

That really would make them dependent on their independent neighbors. And that’s the rub. In a progressive system, independent people have no rights. Politicians like Obama, Schumer, Senate Democratic Floor Leader Harry W. Reid (D-NV), and House Democratic Floor Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) insist that those who, by their definition, can afford to pay more, must pay more.


In his most recent press conference, Obama talked about “people like me who don’t need a tax cut.” He never once mentioned that any person may already give voluntarily to the government. If Obama were to publish a valid street address and suite number (or Post Office box number) for the Bureau of the Public Debt, he might raise some serious revenue. Or he might not. Your editor wonders whether any of the rich liberals who echo Obama’s refrain mean a word of what they say along that line. (The instructions for Form 1040, the US Individual Income Tax Return, should have that address.)

Everyone who cares to know, knows that if the debt ceiling does not rise, then only the man now holding office as President may decide what checks to write, and what checks not to write. So if Obama cannot guarantee that Social Security checks will go out, he means he won’t guarantee that. That is a threat, and nothing else.

Sadly, recent poll results show that most Americans who answer telephone surveys don’t understand this. The man now holding office as President is surely counting on this. His attitude and actions on the debt ceiling make zero sense otherwise.

Featured image: the classic Weimar-era illustration of wheeling a barrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread.



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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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Sean B

A couple quick question. Why is spending a big deal now? Why is rasing the debt ceiling a bad idea now? Where was all this when the bush administration raised the debt ceiling 7 times?

Sean B

I didn’t mean you, I ment conservatives as a whole. I was not even aware of a debt ceiling untill all of this, thats how little coverage it got when Bush was running the show.

And dont make me bring Reagan into this

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