Greater Krueger National Park

Greater Krueger National Park
An image from a recent trip to South Africa. Clcik on the image for more on this trip.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

The Debt Ceiling and the Political Fence

I need some help understanding what is involved in the debt ceiling fight.  Both the President and the Secretary of the Treasury have issued some pretty dire warnings about what would happen if we defaulted on our debt.  I accept those warnings, and, like everyone else I know, I oppose defaulting on any of our $17 trillion debt.  

The President has also said that he will not negotiate on the debt ceiling.  I have difficultly following his logic on this point.  If the danger is as great as we all agree that it is, how can the President refuse to discuss the danger with all of the rest of us - Democrat and Republican alike?  I know of no Republican that advocates default.  I do know a lot of Americans, Republican and Democrat, that want a more fulsome discussion of our debt.

As I understand it, our debt/GNP ratio is in serious trouble and it is getting worse every year that we continue doing business as usual.  Unbelievably, we currently owe more money than we make in a year and, because we have not found a way to curtail our spending, the imbalance grows every year.  

Think about it this way.  A family that makes $100,000 a year owes a total of $105,000.   If that family spends more than $100,000 in a given year, it obviously has to borrow even more money to pay interest and support the additional spending.  That worsens the ratio of what it makes to what it owes.  As the family ages, the children have to pick up the burden of paying the interest and principal from their parents who spent the money that created the debt.    That is Greece and it is becoming us.  It just can not continue for ever, even if we are comfortable spending our kid's money.

So, Mr. President, please quit running around the country campaigning for the 2014 elections for just a little while.  Please sit down with both Republicans and Democrats in a room somewhere and hammer out an economic way forward that is in the interest of all of us and can be supported by the entire country.  Please quit trying to scare us into continuing our spending spree and help lead us into a more economically secure future.

You are willing to call the Ayatollah's current front man in Iran and start a conversation with people who have labeled us "The Great Satan" and you chat fairly regularly with the ex-KGB thug that currently runs Russia.  Why not call a couple of folks in the House of Representatives and start a conversation with some of your fellow Americans that are just on the other side of a domestic political fence?

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