Traverse City Record-Eagle


February 22, 2014

Another View: Borrowing will increase, issues remain

Leadership in the Republican Party threw in the towel ... over any battle related to the nation’s debt ceiling.

In remarkably subdued fashion, the House leadership allowed a vote to raise the debt ceiling to take place. And while most members of the GOP voted against it, enough joined Democrats to score narrow passage.

Then in the Senate, Republican leaders balked at a filibuster by Sen. Ted Cruz to block a vote on the increase. Thus the debt ceiling bill was sent to President Obama for his signature ...

What does all this mean? And what are the economic and political consequences?

Well, the answer is complicated. In a nutshell, the debt limit had to increase. America must pay its bills or face ugly consequences.

But the quick vote does nothing to address the nation’s long-term debt issues. In the past, there have been efforts to control spending tied to deals to increase the debt ceiling. Unfortunately, they haven’t always gone so well, such as with last year’s standoff.

Many of these efforts make good political theater for those seeking to claim they are fiscally responsible. At the end of the day, however, the nation’s debt still grows.

Americans who are concerned about the country’s debt — and we count ourselves in that group — ought to understand that both parties are falling down on the job. Democrats show only marginal interest in the subject, while Republicans take stands that mainly nibble around the edges of the problem.

Controlling spending obviously has to be part of debt reduction. That includes spending in a wide array of categories that impacts interest groups supportive of both parties.

And it also means a serious move must be made to reform the nation’s tax code. That’s a politically popular call in theory, but there is precious little movement in that regard from Washington.

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive