Who’s to Blame for Bumping Up America’s Debt? – President Biden and Congress continue to attempt to reach an agreement on the $31.4 trillion cap on government spending before the looming deadline in early June. In fact, a new meeting is going to occur today.
While it does no good to point fingers at who’s to blame for the massive debt, the limit of which was hit back in January, both sides are very good at it.
The Debt Stalemate
The latest meeting between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on last Tuesday evening failed to make any progress on conciliation around government spending.
Waiting things out is nothing new for McCarthy. It took 15 rounds of voting and four days of debate and negotiations for him to finally take his seat as Speaker. While McCarthy made many concessions to ascend to the highest position in the House, when it comes to America’s budget, the Speaker is not budging. Nor should he.
The irresponsible spending by both parties has continued for too long. Sure, it’s quite simple to continue to raise the debt ceiling – again. So simple, it’s been done 78 times since 1960 – 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents.
But doing so should come with restrictions. Ones that ensure rigorous cost-benefit analysis is undergone before new programs are enacted.
Congress must curb the excessive spending in D.C., costing Americans millions of dollars in inflationary costs.
Who’s Paying the Price?
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of American debt is not held by foreign entities such as China.
The US adversary actually holds about $1 trillion of our debt, and while that may seem like a big number, it’s relatively small compared to the entire amount, less than 5%.
Americans hold our own debt and we are the ones paying the price.
The Consumer Price Index increased almost 5% over the past 12 months. Keep in mind that the CPI doesn’t account for increases in common household goods such as food, gas, and clothing – just a few of the items that have skyrocketed over the past two years, thanks to an increase of about 50% in federal spending between fiscal years 2019 and 2021, largely due to the pandemic.
While the increase in expenditures was understandable due to shutting down the economy during the pandemic, like most government payments, there was no significant debate about the future cost of doing so.
A typical household can now expect to pay up to between $350-$500 per person per month for groceries, depending on the state. Of course, if you’re living in cities such as Los Angeles or New York, that amount will get you some bad coffee, donuts, and Ramen noodles.
If you’re attempting to eat healthy and invest in preventative care to reduce massive health care costs down the road, that number is going to jump closer to $600-$700 per month, possibly more if you include alternative treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic, or physical training or therapy.
Just like in any household, balancing a federal budget happens in two ways; increasing money in or decreasing money out.
When it comes to the government, the main source of revenue is taxes. The government’s highest bills come from Social Security, healthcare, defense, and interest on the debt. And who’s going to touch Social Security? Just look what happened in France.
Who’s to Blame?
Democrats blame Republicans for using the debt ceiling as leverage to force spending cuts. But why shouldn’t they?
Imagine you’re a parent and your sixteen-year-old gets in a car accident. You get the car fixed because he promises to be more careful next time. He gets in another accident. You get the car fixed again, no questions asked. No grounding. No requiring him to pay for his own insurance. No restrictions on when he can drive. He gets in another accident and this time, he totals the car. You get him another car. You get the point. It’s ridiculous to expect more responsible behavior from a child without consequences for irresponsible behavior.
Is the government really any more disciplined or accountable than a teenager? Don’t answer that.
Republicans blame Democrats for continuing to pass and enact excessive and expensive programs under the threat of climate change and necessity for “diversity and inclusion.”
They have a point. The Democrat’s Green New Deal cost over $2 trillion. Still, the biggest expenses continue to be income support and health care.
Republicans haven’t been any better with tightening their belts. They’ve raised the debt ceiling almost twice as many times as Democrats and President Trump raised it three times during his tenure in the oval office.
This battle over the budget is nothing new. The past two months look eerily similar to 2011 when Obama wrestled with then House Speaker John Boehner from Ohio over the debt ceiling increase and reductions in spending. The battle came complete with divisive factions within the Republican party and Boehner telling Republicans unhappy with his proposed plan to “get your ass in line.”
According to a Rasmussen Report poll, 56 percent of the respondents would rather have a partial government shutdown until Congress can cut spending or keep it the same. Only 34 percent said they would rather see the opposite, higher spending levels, to avoid a government shutdown.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It’s time to stop the insanity once and for all. If a threat of default is the only way to do it, so be it. It seems the people agree.