The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

October 16, 2013

Now's not time for lesson on overspending

The U.S. government’s record of excessive spending and ballooning deficits has put us in dire financial straits. Something has to be done.

But politicians shouldn’t use the debt-ceiling decision as a bargaining chip in their fight over government spending.

Raising the debt ceiling is a formality that allows government to pay the bills that Congress has already approved paying. To refuse to raise the limit is akin to letting the country bounce its checks. If it wants to control spending, Congress needs to say no before it makes the “purchase,” not when the bill is due.

To not pay those bills could have catastrophic impact on the global marketplace, economists believe. Some politicians say that point of view is overstated. If they won’t believe economic predictors, how about history?

The last time we edged this close to default, in 2011, the impact was serious, if not disastrous. For the first time ever, the U.S. credit rating was downgraded. The stock market tanked. It cost us billions more to borrow money after that, and consumer confidence was badly shaken. And that’s how it looked when the crisis was, at the last minute, averted.

But all that, apparently, was not enough of a negative outcome to have Congress avoid another debt ceiling crisis. In fact, Congress decided to lump the conversations on government spending and budgeting and the debt ceiling and the Affordable Health Care Act all into one big debate. This is a legislative body that can’t find agreement on small points of contention. How on earth will it untangle this web? Even if the extension discussed on Thursday takes place, and the Oct. 17 debt-ceiling deadline is met, another debt-ceiling decision will be just around the corner.

If the government goes into default, strides made toward economic recovery will be reversed, and the world will view our government as grossly incompetent. And the U.S. government could actually default on its debts.

Is this debt ceiling crisis a threat of our own making?

It is.

Is the whole thing a little bizarre?

It is.

But is the threat real?

It absolutely is.

Congress should tackle reining in government spending — but not by refusing to act on the debt ceiling.

Telegraph Herald

Oct. 11

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd Akin's back again to talk of rape So, Todd Akin is back and he’s talking rape again.You remember what happened last time. The would-be Missouri senator torpedoed his campaign two years ago after suggesting in a TV interview that if a woman is a victim of “legitimate rape,” she is unl

    July 22, 2014

  • Sadness remains as two-year mark passes in cousins' case As most citizens of the Cedar Valley are well aware, July 13 marked two years since the disappearance of cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey of Evansdale.The passage of time provides some semblance of healing, but the sadness, particul

    July 22, 2014

  • UI needs to keep its admission standards high There’s been a lot of talk lately — most of it coming from the leadership of the Iowa state Board of Regents — about the University of Iowa not being passionate enough about its recruitment of in-state undergraduates. Regent president Bruce Rastetter

    July 21, 2014

  • Vote fraud myths meet voting rights reality Before she was allowed to register and vote for the first time in Franklin County, North Carolina, Rosanell Eaton had to read the entire preamble to the U.S. Constitution out loud in front of three men in the county courthouse.Eaton is black. The thr

    July 21, 2014 1 Story

  • 7-21-14 David Helscher mug Prepare for possible effects of Fed's decisions It has been more than 5 years since the Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented steps to support the economy through purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed debt securities. This has generally been called quantitative easing and has not been withou

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • What it was like as a teen

    Ten years ago today, I’d like to think I was checking out educational books to prepare myself for my upcoming journey through college.

    In reality, I was probably playing video games and thinking of ways to have fun, while trying not to get into too much trouble.

    July 20, 2014

  • Randy Meier Spoofing practices resurface Spoofing is the practice deliberately falsifying a telephone number and/or name relayed to the caller ID feature of a phone. This type of call right now is the number one phone scam I receive. Many people report receiving calls appearing on caller ID

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Impeaching the president Sarah Palin is right about impeaching President Obama.No, not that the president should be impeached. But Palin is correct in arguing that, for those who assert that Obama has grievously abused his executive authority, impeachment is the proper cours

    July 18, 2014

Poll

With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook