I read Anita Dearhamer’s excellent letter last week about the “Debt Ceiling” and the importance of raising it and what the failure to do so would have on all of us, especially those of us receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits.
There are a couple of broader issues to consider.
First, there has long been an element in our country that you could label as “contrarians”…people that are opposed to government, majority opinion, vaccines recommended by the Food and Drug Administration, taxes, education, unions, seat belts, immigration, people of color, Muslims, Jews, whatever, Currently, these folks make up a large percentage of the Republican Party including Donald Trump. They have a long history of challenging anything proposed that they see as helping Democrats and low and middle income Americans. Compromise is a dirty word.
Second, the Debt Ceiling has been raised 78 times since 1960, 49 times during Republican administrations, 29 times under Democratic presidents. Dems and Repubs joined together three times during Trump’s term to raise the Debt Ceiling while the Republicans were exploding the national debt by almost eight TRILLION dollars when they were giving permanent tax breaks to the wealthy! Now, with Biden in the oval office, the Repubs are struck by a temporary case of the “frugals” and are trying to convince all of us that they’re actually fiscally responsible. Nice try.
Now, is the Debt Ceiling too high? There’s no question it’s a lot of money but that’s the question each of us has to decide… About 63% of our total budget is mandated by law. Included in this category are things like Defense, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Only about 30% is so-called “discretionary spending”…things like transportation, education, veteran’s care, housing and social service programs and science and environmental programs and organizations. This 30% is what the discussion is about. Remember, as Ms. Dearhamer pointed out this is all money that had already been established in the budget and spent. It’s NOT new money!
Republicans, including Tom Tiffany, are so proud of the fact that they passed legislation in the house cutting the budgets of all the “discretionary” programs…programs that many of their constituents count on in “red” states. They knew beforehand that this legislation would not be acceptable to the Democrats. It was a waste of time.
Please note that low and middle class Americans are greatly affected by many of the categories in that 30%. To reach a compromise, Republicans want to slash spending in these areas. Biden and the Democrats want to raise taxes on the rich. You decide which option is best for your situation.
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