It's About the Debt

Americans are wondering who will blink first. The government shut down is two weeks old, and talking heads are prattling on about how the Republicans are getting more blame than the Democrats.

Of course, it's mostly political theater. Only about 17 percent of the federal government has actually been shut down.

One has to wonder what those polling numbers would look like if more news time were devoted to telling people how desperate the Democrats are to make us care.

Better still, maybe some more time ought to be spent talking about debt. As in, that $17 trillion in debt.

While President Obama and his flock would like to believe that this is all about Obamacare -- or all about the president -- some Republicans are trying to remind people that there is a much, much bigger problem out there that needs to be addressed -- of which Obamacare is most certainly a part (about $2.6 trillion, to be exact). 

Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said, 

"We think [the debt is] important, and worth fighting over, because [it's] not inconsequential. Some economists say that we're losing a million jobs a year just because of the burden of our debt. Is it worth standing up and saying, 'The emperor has no clothes, we're out of money, and that we should start to balance our budget, and not spend money that we don't have'? Yeah, it's absolutely important. And so sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in."

Let's remember that members of congress like Sen. Paul were elected specifically because of their opposition to fiscal irresponsibility, and their concern over our nation's rising debt. The collective gasp from the Left over this principled stand is somewhat amusing.

As is President Obama's intransigence over the issue of delaying implementation of Obamacare -- a compromise offered by Republicans. He was quite happy to delay the employer mandate until 2015. If he's willing to give businesses a break, why not the rest of us?

Nor is the issue of debt a concern to Republicans only. Back in 2006, when the national debt was a "mere" $8 trillion, Senator Obama had this to say:

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies....Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

But now that he's president, any protests against rising debt are akin to people strapping bombs to their chests. What hypocrisy.

Even the Chinese government -- our biggest lender -- is weighing in on the issue. "The executive branch of the U.S. government has to take decisive and credible steps to avoid a default on its Treasury bonds," said China's Vice Finance Minister, Zhu Guangyao. 

When we owe a hostile foreign power so much money that it's commenting on a domestic squabble, something has gone terribly wrong. So much for the silly argument that a national debt is "just something we owe to ourselves."

The truth is, Senator Obama was correct -- continued fiscal irresponsibility is a leadership failure, and both parties have been more than happy to contribute. That's how we got here.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kevin Kervick October 10, 2013 at 06:28 AM
Right on Scott.
Stephen D. Clark October 10, 2013 at 07:08 AM
Pure spin. The ongoing shutdown is about the Republicans' hatred for the president and their hysteria over Obamacare. That's all it is. ******************************************************** The very first demand Republicans made was "End Obamacare." They didn't get that. Then they said "Delay Obamacare." They didn't get that. Now they're willing to settle for a retraction of the medical device tax. ******************************************************** It's never been about the debt. It's always been about the Republicans' desperate irrationality and their lack of a cohesive plan.


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