The debt ceiling will be lifted … again
One of the built-in thrills of a circus act is the rehearsed near miss – when that trapeze artist looks as if he is about to plunge to the earth or that lion is about to attack the trainer. Those moments are designed to build anxiety and drama. Seasoned circus goers know the outcome, of course.
So it is with the periodic raising of the debt ceiling. For days ahead of the deadline, politicians speculate, and the news media reports as if there is any doubt about the outcome. The news is riddled with terms like “pending economic disaster,” “economic collapse” and “a cliff-hanger.” All that is nothing more than a political version of Kabuki Threater.
There are seemingly endless stories of what it would mean if the debt ceiling were not raised. The longstanding “good faith and credit” of the United States would suffer a serious blow. After all, it is only the belief that the United States will pay its incurred debts that keep folks and foreign nations buying America’s government bonds.
The United States has never defaulted on any debt – never stiffed any creditors. And … it will not this time. If you can trust anything that relies on the actions of politicians in Washington, raising the debt ceiling would be at the top of that very short list.
So why all the drama?
Basically, it is political posturing and the natural tendency of the new media to seek out drama, whether real or illusional – or even create drama where none exists. It is also an opportunity for the media to get into the partisan political game.
According to the left-wing news reports, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to vote to lift the debt ceiling is not only dangerously reckless and hypocritical since he voted for raising the ceiling in the past – calling that an essential action.
McConnell did that in the past. And he still says that the debt ceiling must be raised. BUT … he knows that the Democrats have sufficient votes to do it all on their own. They do not need any Republican votes. In one sense, it is payback time for what Democrats did – the same thing in reverse – in 2011. Hypocrisy is a bipartisan constant in politics.
Why would McConnell draw such a line in the sand over a necessary procedural issue? Why would he make what had been bipartisan now partisan? Very simple. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has kicked McConnell and the Senate Republicans to the side. There has been no consultation on the BIG Biden so-called human infrastructure bill costing $3.9 trillion.
McConnell also knows that the American public is getting weary of the tax-and-over-spend policies of Congress. Come 2022, he wants the voters to know that Democrats voted again to cover excessive spending – and the GOP did not.
It is not likely to be the central issue that motivates voters in 2022 but is a bit more straw on the proverbial camel’s back. McConnell wants the people to focus less on the need to raise the debt ceiling and on the overspending that requires it.
Republicans are lucky to have McConnell. Whether as Senate Majority Leader or Minority Leader he has proven to be the most effective guy on Capitol Hill. And Trump is badly mistaken to call for his replacement – which will be the subject of a future commentary.
So, there ‘tis.