Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sherrod Brown wants to go easy on the debt ceiling

It probably would not come as a shock to any of my readers that our U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D) and I do not see eye-to-eye on very much. However, his position on the national debt is particularly troublesome. Following is his reply to an e-mail I sent him about two weeks ago urging him to hold the line on raising the debt limit (Emphasis added. My quote feature isn't working, so Sen. Brown's words are in italics and in quotation marks):
"Thank you for getting in touch with me about the federal government debt ceiling.

The current debt limit was reached in mid-May. The Department of Treasury can take some steps to put off the day of reckoning, but its efforts will only finance the government until July.

"Failure to raise the debt ceiling would be reckless. Congress acted to raise the debt ceiling seven times under President Bush, and as unpleasant as it is, it must do the same under President Obama. Default would be a disaster for our country, our economy, and our children. As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke put it, defaulting on our debt would be a 'recovery-ending event.'”
Well, yes. You're right, Senator. Defaulting on our debt would be a "recovery-ending event." Whenever we decide to face the "day of reckoning" will be a recovery-ending event. And the fact that Congress irresponsibly increased the debt ceiling seven times under President Bush does not impress me at all. If anything, it shows that Congress will be Congress regardless of which party is in power.

"The upcoming vote on the debt ceiling is not a referendum on whether the deficit must be reduced — everybody agrees on that. It is a vote on whether we will pay our bills. If Congress were to vote down an increase in the debt ceiling, our economy would screech to a halt and the price the government pays to borrow — on old and any new debt — would skyrocket. Our deficit would spiral even further out of control. And across Ohio, small businesses, and local governments, and homeowners could face astronomical interest rate increases."

If Congress were to couple voting down an increase in the debt ceiling with large, even painful, cuts in spending, I am sure that the financial markets would respond with favorable interest rates. Senator, can we count on you to do that?

"Congress has never failed to increase the debt ceiling. It would be irresponsible to hold this vote hostage for the sake of political gamesmanship."

If working to put a stop to increasing the national debt, saving the dollar and avoiding hyperinflation, and keeping taxes in line is "political gamesmanship," I, for one, am in favor of "political gamesmanship."

"I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis in developing a framework to reduce the deficit this year. But defaulting on our debt would make deficit reduction virtually impossible."

 "Reducing the deficit" in baby steps (like President Obama's request to save $100 billion of a $3 trillion budget) will not reduce the debt. It will not save us from hyperinflation. It will not prolong the so-called "recovery." It will just keep things the way they are until it is too late to do anything at all.

It sounds to me as though your approach to the deficit is the same as Gov. Strickland's was. The result was that Gov. Kasich had to erase an $8 billion dollar deficit (equivalent to 15% of the entire state budget) all at once. The voters voted against that approach last November. You might want to keep that in mind, Senator.

"Thank you again for getting in touch with me. "

Youi're welcome.

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