We Can’t Afford to Raise the Debt Ceiling

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.”

Senator Barack Obama

Senate Floor Speech on Public Debt

March 16, 2006

Senator Obama ended his speech with a profound yet often neglected fact, “Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities.”  He went on to vote against raising the debt ceiling in 2006.

What a shame Barack Obama has such a short memory.  If only he would have paid heed to his own words once he became president in 2008 we wouldn’t be about $3 trillion more in debt and in the worst fiscal crisis the world has ever seen.  But, of course, the President and his supporters claim that he had no choice but to spend us even farther into oblivion.  After all, he inherited an awful economy from his predecessor.  The story goes that his spendthrift policies are what saved us from an economic meltdown.  How they know that exactly is not clear?

What is known is that Obama’s policies have not solved our economic woes.  In fact things have become far worse under his leadership.  The two statistics that the ordinary American cares most about are unemployment and price inflation.  Both have headed in the wrong direction since Obama assumed the reins of power.  The government’s unemployment figure stood at 7.8 percent the month Obama became president.  Today, 9.2 percent of our workforce is without work.  In spite of his “stimulus” spending the unemployment rate has increased 18 percent!

Naturally, with all the new spending and monetized debt over the last two and one-half years, it is reasonable to expect that goods priced in dollars would see an increase.  As I have predicted many times on this post, they have.  If we just use the government’s CPI numbers it is easy to see that prices under Obama’s program have taken off. When Obama took office the government’s CPI number stood at 0.0 percent.  The number released for June 2011 stood at 3.6 percent.  Additionally, gas prices have doubled under Obama and food prices are soaring.

If one were to calculate unemployment and price inflation like they were prior to 1980, we are clearly in a depression.  Bread lines have simply been replaced by food stamps.

The point is that Obama’s polices have been a dismal failure.  The current issue before Congress is whether to raise the current debt ceiling.  It is interesting to note that Obama and his ilk will only talk about what alleged calamities will befall us if the debt ceiling is not raised.  Seniors, soldiers, and the disabled will be relegated to the streets begging for change to support their families they tell us.  No mention is ever made of what calamities will befall us if the debt ceiling is raised and the reckless spending is allowed to continue.  Right now, 43 cents of every dollar Washington spends is borrowed.  Over the next decade, interest payments on that debt assuming interest rates rise gradually will total $5.5 trillion.  That is revenue that cannot be used to invest in America – roads, schools, jobs…  If the current debt ceiling is raised for further deficit spending a greater percentage of each future dollar will not be available for American investment or as Senator Obama put it so aptly in 2006, “Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities.”

The President and Congress have tried to spend our way out of economic crisis.  Predictably, it has failed and even made things worse.  Raising the debt ceiling further will only exacerbate the crisis.  To avoid a “leadership failure” Obama should do whatever it takes to cut trillions in spending.  It is the only way to get “our Government’s reckless fiscal policies” under control and ensure a viable economic future for all Americans.

Article first published as We Can’t Afford to Raise the Debt Ceiling on Blogcritics.

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