Home » Opinion » Editorials
The debt ceiling: Right fight, wrong time
House Republicans want President Obama to agree to spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling (which allows the federal government to continue borrowing money). The President says there is no way he will do that. As he put it at Monday's press conference, you don't go to dinner and then skip out on the tab. But once you have maxed out your credit cards, shouldn't you stop eating out?
The Republicans view the debt ceiling increase as their one chance to squeeze spending concessions from a President who otherwise will never agree to reduce federal appropriations. The trouble with forcing that standoff is that Republicans cannot win it. Obama will stand firm, and they will have to flinch or shut down the government. Either way, Obama wins and Republicans lose more credibility, which makes it harder to force a showdown on spending on more favorable ground in the future.
Of course, default is not inevitable should the ceiling not be raised. As Bloomberg View columnist Caroline Baum wrote in these pages on Tuesday, if Congress does not authorize more borrowing, the administration can pay our debts with current tax revenues, thereby avoiding default. Obama just has to stop paying for a lot of other things, including entitlements. But Republicans won't win this political battle by trying to explain that technical point in 20-second snippets on the evening news.
A responsible President would have put the federal government on the path to a balanced budget by now. Obama has no desire to do that, which means Republicans will have to force his hand at some point. This is not that point.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Who scares Shaheen? She wants to stop Scott Brown - 0
- Taxpayer rights: Left, right should restore them - 8
- Hooksett highs: A good multiple choice test - 1
- Where is Shaheen? Hiding from you - 73
- Portman's good point: A leadership deficit all around - 3
- Wheeler in Dist. 5: A GOP fighter for the little guy - 4
- GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help - 12
- Obama's indecision: In NH, only Ayotte urges action - 57
- Concealed controversy: Our 'Mother, may I' gun policy - 59
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Franklin Pierce's Kirsh to retire as AD - 0
- UNH Wildcat gridders can't stop Toledo, 54-20 - 0
- UNH Wildcats volleyball looking forward to good season - 0
- Dave D'Onofrio's Patriots Notebook: Pats' cuts hold few surprises - 0
- New-look Boston Red Sox taking test run - 0
- NH Fisher Cats bats silenced in Conn., in 3-1 loss - 0
- Boston Red Sox limited to one hit in loss to Tampa Bay, 7-0 - 0
- Donald Trump to headline 1st Amendment event in NH - 0
- Ted Siefer's City Hall: Drivers education to science, meeting all about the kids - 0
Mount Washington Auto Road to host largest gathering of alternative-energy based vehicles in North America