Déjà vu All Over Again – Debt Ceiling Increase Expected This Week

David Williams

January 16, 2012

The country is facing yet another debt ceiling increase.  This time around when the debt ceiling is increased by $1.2 trillion there won’t be any 24 hour news coverage and there won’t be any last minute negotiations to trick taxpayers thinking that serious spending cuts will be offered (see previous post here).  Debt ceiling negotiations last August set up a scenario that requires another debt ceiling increase before the 2012 elections.  But, according to The Hill, “Under the terms of the August debt-ceiling deal, the debt will increase unless the Senate and Obama go along with the House disapproval, and that is never going to happen.”  This increase should not be an exercise in futility; it should be an opportunity for taxpayers (and all Americans) to show their displeasure and frustration with current government spending.

The federal government is set to spend $3.7 trillion in fiscal year 2012.That is $1.1 trillion more than the federal government will bring in.  Now, to the casual observer and 5th grade math students, that doesn’t make sense.  It only makes sense because Congress and the President refuse to balance the budget and we can borrow money from other countries like China to keep our spending addiction alive.  That $3.7 trillion translates to $10.1 billion per day (366 days this year because of Leap Year).  Despite the frightening numbers it is difficult to find any media or members of Congress talking about this debt increase.  One republican member is talking.  According to The Hill, “’The deal we cut in August: that’s a joke,’ Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said, adding it is just a fig leaf for some Republicans to say they are against more debt even though they essentially approved it in August. ‘I do have some anger with my own leadership…The Republican establishment was just as misleading about a default as the Democrats,’ he said.  Mulvaney said a number of conservative members are frustrated and plan to express that to leaders this week. ‘I know that I am not alone,’ he said.”

The lack of attention that this debt ceiling increase is receiving is bad news for taxpayers and the country.  The country is in the middle of a financial crisis but members of Congress are in the middle of congressional campaigns which means that any meaningful legislation to cut discretionary and mandatory spending will wait until next year which means that Congress has yet another year to procrastinate.  While Congress procrastinates more money is spent and the future looks even dimmer.