Once again the question of raising the central government debt ceiling, last raised in October, is on the table, supposedly having a deadline tomorrow, but treasury can pull various strings to delay the real deadline to the end of the month, and some on the right think they could extend it a lot longer with no harm. I call the latter: big gamblers.
I think it a safe bet they will raise the debt ceiling once again over the next few weeks, but not before there is much sound and fury signifying nothing, to borrow a phrase from a fellow name Faulkner.
The deadline will be raised again because Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has said “nobody wants the government to default on its debt” and since all he has to do is allow a bill to come to the floor of the house where the Democrats will push it to victory, he is the most important nobody of all.
So, why all the huffing and puffing in the interim? The Republicans want to keep hammering home the issue of the ever accumulating national debt as our biggest national problem that we must deal with right now, so at least something should be cut if we are to raise the debt ceiling again.
Since the party has wandered far from its tradition of unity and discipline during the Obama years, actually having more voices demanding to be heard than the Democrats for a change, it never hurts to band together to pan Obama and those big spending Democrats one more time.
Also, I imagine Republican strategists have keyed into evidence that a majority of Americans like the idea of curbing spending, reducing the number of government workers, getting our house in order so to speak. I don’t have the exact facts at my finger tips (meaning I can’t recall where I got them), but there was a study last fall indicating that Americans are not as divided as commonly conceived, that there is a large middling majority that more or less agree upon most issues. The issue that struck me most was that a large majority of this majority favored a balanced budget amendment.
Of course, if you took a poll as to how they would balance the budget, they might be all over the place, but it just seems a common sense thing to do. Well, that’s true for your family but the national government has never operated like anybody’s family. Deficit spending has been the norm and it has worked well because our economy has regularly grown so it can carry large deficits as long as that per cent of GDP remains relatively low….. At this point, I’m sorry I got into this…..
My point is, whether right or wrong, about half the voters want a smaller less regulatory government, in theory at least. And despite a large majority of knowledgeable opinion to the contrary, many Americans seem willing to gamble with the debt ceiling. No doubt Republican strategists recall a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last fall in which 44% of those polled were against raising the debt ceiling to 22% who were for it, leaving 34% unaccounted for, at least in the article.
“People’s first instinct is how fed up they are with Washington and spending,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the poll with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart. “This is a very difficult issue in terms of public opinion.”
So, all the ongoing sound and fury may signify something, keeping the heat up on general American resentment towards big government (except for individual programs we each love, of course). As long as the right doesn’t go over board and makes the world economy nervous, all their belt tightening chatter may help Republicans in the mid-term elections next fall and that is what all the political posturing is aimed at now and for months to come.
Isn’t that right?