Congress Exploits Hurricane to Raise Debt Ceiling, by Ron Paul

Raised as it is every times it comes up, the debt ceiling hasn’t enforced fiscal discipline on Washington. However, it does temporarily shine a light on the debt, which isn’t a bad thing. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel famously counseled politicians to never let a crisis go to waste. Sadly, this week President Trump and congressional leaders of both parties showed that they have taken this advice to heart when they attached a debt ceiling increase and an extension of government spending to the over 15 billion dollars Hurricane Harvey relief bill.

This maneuver enabled Congress to avoid a contentious debate over whether to pass a clean debt ceiling increase or to pair it with spending cuts. After all, few members of Congress want to be accused of blocking a bipartisan deal to help those suffering from Harvey over what the media will spin as a “right-wing anti-government” crusade.

Combining hurricane relief with a debt ceiling increase and an extension of government funding had bipartisan support. Days before President Trump sat down with Democrats to hammer out a deal, Capitol Hill was abuzz with talk about a Senate GOP plan to attach a debt ceiling increase and an extension of government funding to the hurricane bill.

If, as was reported in the media, the GOP leadership objected to Trump’s deal, they could have refused to bring it up for a vote. After all, as Senator John McCain wrote this week, Congress does not work for President Trump. But, the deal quickly passed in the House and the Senate with large bipartisan majorities. As is common in DC, the parties agreed on the principle, and they only squabbled over the details.

A refusal to raise the debt ceiling would not cause the government to default; it would simply force Congress to set spending priorities and make real spending cuts. In contrast, raising the debt ceiling allows Congress to continue to run up more debt in order to grow the government. The American people will pay for these deficits either directly through an increase in the income tax and other federal taxes, or indirectly through the inflation tax.

To continue reading: Congress Exploits Hurricane to Raise Debt Ceiling

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