My fellow Americans [or anyone who is curious how backwards we can be] most of us are hearing a lot about the government shutdown and the impending budget which was not passed. There is a lot of blame going around for what is wrong and who is at fault, but most people don’t understand what is going on.
Let’s break it down and while I am bias, I will try to leave you to draw your own conclusions at the end.
The Debt Limit
Now most people don’t know this but the debt limit isn’t real thing,the government can [and almost always will] borrow whatever it wants. It isn’t credit card or bank account we don’t actually have to ask for money, the money is not actually [physically] there it is just a bookkeeping issue.
The debt limit as we know [and love!] it now was created in the 1930’s and in 1939 congress set a general limit to government spending. [Source] It is raised every time we get close to it and we are only one of two democracies that have a debt ceiling [hello Denmark, looking at you] or more accurately, we approve the spending separate from the borrowing, confusing, no?
The President and the budget
Congress loves to blame the president for the budget or the ‘reckless spending’, but did you know that he doesn’t have control over the spending? Yes, he can create a budget but congress can alter it or throw it out and make their own budget, which is usually what happens anyway.
When the budget is passed the president is forced by law to spend every dime that it calls for; because of this, he is typically forced to ask the congress to raise taxes to make up the difference.
Now it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if taxes collected are less than our spending we need to borrow money to make up the difference. Which, if we don’t, then we go into default. That means people don’t get paid, which makes the world market uneasy about trusting the US dollar since people don’t want to ‘hope’ it is going to be worth something.
The obvious solution would be to allow the spending required for the budget without needing to ask for it, kill two birds with one stone. OR just do away with the debt limit all together and watch congress complain about the budget that they made and passed. But in any case the funds that the budget needed would be there and we wouldn’t have this problem.
Now that the simple solution was pointed out, you are probably wondering why this wont happen. It’s simple
Yep, all this fuss, the government not being able to pay anyone, the uneasiness this is causing on the market as the rest of the world watches the US hit it’s debt ceiling time and time again only to raise it at the last minute. All of it is caused by politics.
The debt ceiling was created as a way to slow down government spending and now it is being used as political weapon for the minority in congress to complain about something it doesn’t like. Then turn around and blame the majority for needing to increase spending [which again, is set by congress].
This does not benefit you, me, or anyone else. This means that the men and women in the armed forces need to be worried that they are not going to be paid. Disabled vets like me and other people who are disabled; we won’t be getting a paycheck either.
In the end, we the people lose all because congress is playing games like schoolchildren. The people in congress have lost touch with reality and the only people that we can vote to send to congress are people who never had to live the life you or I had to have.
So what do we do now? We wait and keep our fingers crossed that the people running the government, the ones with the most money, not the most brains, figure out that they are there to serve us and not themselves.
I had a dream, once… but then I woke up.
Still confused about the debt ceiling, then here is a quick video that explains it a little better.