published Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

With debt this big, time flies

There’s a saying that if you don’t believe time flies, just have a 30-day note that’s coming due when you don’t have the money to pay it.

Most people understand how uncomfortable a feeling that would be.

But how do the American people feel as our federal government owes $14.3 trillion and by law can’t owe any more than that beyond Aug. 2 — just 14 days away — and thus won’t be able to pay some of its bills after that point?

Obviously, the federal government is not about to significantly reduce the national debt before the Aug. 2 deadline hits, and we certainly don’t want our government to default on the debt. Even the irresponsible big spenders admit that would have horrible effects on our economy and on all of us.

Democrats in Congress want to raise the “debt limit” beyond its current level of $14.3 trillion — while raising taxes and supposedly cutting spending, mainly down the road sometime.

You can be sure, from similar “deals” in the past, that that would mean higher taxes, but the spending cuts would never fully materialize, and the debt would continue to grow out of control.

More responsibly, Republicans in the House of Representatives are pushing for adoption of a “cap, cut and balance” plan. It would permit an increased debt limit but would also cut the deficit, cap federal spending as a percentage of the national economy, and amend the Constitution to require balanced budgets.

In other words, it would do the things that need to be done to start strengthening our financial condition. Of course, it wouldn’t immediately pay off the national debt. But it would put the brakes on reckless federal spending.

Even if the House adopts such a plan, however, President Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate plan to stop it — preferring higher taxes and uncertain spending cuts.

Nevertheless, Republicans should push their plan forward. If the Senate kills it or the president vetoes it, the American people can decide who is to blame if a partial default on our debt occurs after Aug. 2.

What will actually happen in the next two weeks? That’s hard to say.

But it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hold onto your wallets.

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