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I post these PUBLIC CITIZEN announcements . Solely as a source for information we may not otherwise get a chance to hear . While I most often agree with many of their causes . I post these as more informational than political .
the validity of the public debt of the United States shall not be questioned.
A long-ish note today.
Stick with me — I want to talk about why we’re hearing things like “debt ceiling” and “default” so much right now and why it is absolutely critical to understand what’s at stake.
First, the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution plainly states (among other things) that “[t]he validity of the public debt of the United States ... shall not be questioned.”
But right now, one of the two major political parties in our country is questioning all over the place.
Republicans are attempting to hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage so they can jam through all kinds of cruel and destructive policies they know they can’t achieve through any legitimate legislative process.
The way Republicans are trying to do this is by recklessly threatening to let America default on its debts unless Democrats give in to a laundry list of cuts to vital programs that benefit everyday Americans.
At the risk of stating the obvious, if the United States runs out of money to pay for things Congress already agreed to buy, the entire global economy will be thrown into chaos.
That’s one reason the 14th Amendment makes it so clear that the debt of the U.S. government must never be turned into just another political football — which in turn shows how utterly irresponsible the Republican Party’s brinkmanship over the debt ceiling really is.
We must not default.
- Every year, Congress passes legislation about how much the government is going to spend. And, periodically, it passes legislation about how much the government is going to collect in taxes from individuals and corporations.
- Reasonable people can debate how much the government should spend on this or that and how much it should raise through taxes (and from whom), but if Congress decides to let the government spend more money than it raises, we can end up with a budget deficit.
- In fact, it is normal — and economically beneficial — for the government to spend more than it raises. To cover the difference, the government borrows money. And lenders are eager to loan us money because, again, the full faith and credit of the United States is (supposed to be) incontrovertible.
- The possibility of default arises when it’s time for the executive branch to actually pay for the things the legislative branch decided to buy. Congress has created an arbitrary limit — the “debt ceiling” — on the total amount the government can owe to lenders.
- When we approach that limit, Congress MUST raise the ceiling. There is no choice but to borrow more to pay our bills. Defaulting on our obligations would set off a global economic disaster.
- According to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling in time, the federal government could run out of money to pay for things that Congress already agreed to buy as early as June 1 — just a few weeks from now.
Yesterday, Donald Trump sycophant Kevin McCarthy — who, let’s remember, subjected himself to 15 humiliating rounds of voting before his fellow Republicans even agreed to elect him Speaker of the House in January — met with President Joe Biden in the White House about the debt ceiling.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly doubled down on the GOP’s ruinous threat to hijack the full faith and credit of the United States — and, by extension, the global economy — so that Republicans can force through drastic cuts to vital government programs.
A message to President Joe Biden:
Republicans are recklessly threatening to hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage so they can jam through all kinds of cruel and destructive policies they know they can’t achieve through any legitimate legislative process. Do not give in to this political brinkmanship.
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- Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen