On debt ceiling, it’s not Biden vs. the GOP, but Biden vs. the voters
Post Editorial Board
May 24, 2023 6:58pm
President Joe Biden is desperately maneuvering to avoid any serious spending restraints in debt-limit talks, but voters clearly don’t want the ceiling raised without cuts.
A new CNN poll (yes, left-leaning CNN) shows 60% of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling unless federal spending is reduced.
That includes 58% of independents and even 45% of Democrats.
Only 24% — less than a quarter — think Congress should lift the ceiling “no matter what,” as Biden & Co. have demanded.
Americans know it’s spending that drives up debt. And that spending is out of control — now at its highest, as a share of the economy, since World War II.
Under Biden, Democrats added trillions in new outlays.
The result: more debt, runaway inflation and Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes that are wreaking havoc on the economy.
Voters understand the whole point of a debt “ceiling” is to force a discussion on spending.
After House Republicans passed legislation to raise the limit, with modest cuts that hold next year’s spending to last year’s amounts, Biden finally agreed to negotiate.
Congress faces a June 1 deadline to raise the debt ceiling before the Treasury Department runs out of money to pay for existing debt.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy has signaled that he’ll make some concessions, but next year’s outlays must still be below at least this year’s $6.2 trillion spendapalooza.
Biden is apparently pushing to save much of his spending — the social-welfare and green bonanza pushed through before voters handed the House to the GOP.
But that means tricking Republicans into cutting defense — which hasn’t seen large increases, despite rising threats from China, Russia, Iran etc.
To make the GOP blink, the prez and his team, notably Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, resort to scaremongering about a June 1 default date that’ll trigger “economic chaos.”
Which they claim would be Republicans’ fault for insisting on cuts — never mind what voters want.
In fact, Uncle Sam may well have enough cash to get by without more borrowing until mid-August.
And even if the government runs short, it can still avoid “default” by prioritizing debt payments over other expenses, such as for national parks, green subsidies and nonessential government employees who can be furloughed.
None of it’s ideal, but it would avoid “default” — and hardly spark an economic apocalypse.
And, again, talks could be a lot further along now if Biden hadn’t refused to negotiate with McCarthy at all for over 14 weeks.
Heck, Democrats could’ve moved to pass a no-strings ceiling-lifter last year, while they still controlled Congress: They knew the issue was coming.
They went hog-wild with the nation’s credit card for two years; now they’re calling the folks who insist on some restraint “irresponsible.” Did somebody remove all the mirrors from the White House and the Capitol?