Around the Bluhmin’ Town
Debt ceiling. First enacted by Congress in 1917, it is the legal limit on the total amount of federal debt the government can accrue. Established to simplify the process and enhance borrowing flexibility. This is the federal government’s definition. Mine is more like this. A bunch of elected officials, sometimes with grave incompetence, and lack of basic accounting skills, fight until the bitter end about whether our great country should go into default.
As of my writing, “no deal” has been made and we are running out of time before financial Armageddon is unleashed. We, the citizens of this fine country can: blow it off as theatrics, become increasingly anxious, or have a stiff drink while we watch the train wreck. Hey, politicians, we voted. Now do your job! Agree to do something!
Brother, can you spare a dime? Or possibly 31 Trillion bucks? No, I didn’t think so. So, here we are. Again. Our Congress has raised and revised the debt ceiling a stunning 78 separate times since 1960. We have plenty of experience doing this.
Here is a fresh idea. Why not create a budget that we could follow? Then we could do away with this annual cliffhanger. Perhaps politicians could sit down, talk and negotiate. These two-hour meetings are not working! The American people do not want to hear that soon Congress will be leaving on their Memorial Day vacations. No one leaves the building! Sit down in a conference room. Lock the doors. Order pizzas. Get the job done!
Everyone has an opinion. That’s the beauty of a democracy. We can disagree. But playing chicken with the full economic landscape of our nation is getting old and frightening. Surely, we can do better. How did we get here?
The Federal Government was envisioned by the Founders as one of limited powers, protecting the unalienable rights of individuals. The size and scope of government has overrun these guardrails. Taxpayers watch (repeatedly) the Federal Government respond to any problem with new programs, new agencies, more spending initiatives plus tax cuts, instead of reorganizing, analyzing and repurposing what is already available in our vast bureaucracy. We’ve become a big, bloated ATM machine with few enforcements of fraud or waste.
Time to look closely at our wallets, Dear Leaders. Some of the waste is almost comical. Except we don’t feel like laughing. Can we really find a way to justify an “earmark” of six million to be spent on how beef jerky can be made less chewy? Isn’t 2.5 million spent on a Super Bowl party for federal employees a bit too much? Sounds like a whole lot of pork.
Still, raising the debt ceiling is not to be confused with a budget. It is our nation’s ability to pay our bills. Probably, by the time this column reaches print, all will be solved and both parties will claim “victory.” At the expense of a few million nervous breakdowns of their constituents.
A man was seen carrying a sign outside the Capitol Building that reads, “Dear Lord, we need a miracle. Teach them math.” A fitting bipartisan prayer.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or at www.aroundthebluhmintown.com.
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