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: 2
- USNH's raw deal: Part deux - 2
- Every vote counts: Here is the proof - 5
- Burning rubber: And public dollars - 0
- Hassan was right: 'Bullying' bill goes too far - 12
- Strategery: A war by any other name - 30
- Freeh dumb: Favoritism in Vt.? - 6
- Public be damned: Litchfield latest example - 2
- NH's 9/11 victims: We cannot forget - 0
- Celebrating Stark: And America, in Manchester - 0
READER COMMENTS: 1
- Tom Herzig's Trackside: Modified tour is shortened - 0
- Patriots Notebook: Pats wary of veteran playmaker Woodson - 0
- College Football: Expect offense when Richmond, UNH meet - 0
- Young fighters' dreams on display tonight at Fight to Educate - 0
- Drew Cline: When Republicans turn off Republicans - 2
- Supporters eager for Hillary's return to NH - 1
- Surprise, surprise: Obamacare funds abortions - 6
- Jarrett M. Cote - 0
- Police arrest two following Portsmouth fight with hammer and knife - 0
Keene man charged with assault on 2-year-old
USNH's raw deal: Part deux
Another View -- Bill Duncan: What did the NH Supreme Court really say about private school funding?
Every vote counts: Here is the proof
USNH's raw deal: Part deux
Casino gambles: Hopes dashed all over