After reading Jerry Haslip’s advice in a recent letter to the editor, it’s gotta make you wonder if he ever pays his bills, because this is exactly what he wants our United States to do: Don’t pay your bills!
Mr. Haslip argues that Congressional Republicans should refuse to honor our nation’s debt by simply not paying the bills we’ve incurred. This makes no sense whether you’re managing your household finances or our country’s. This is neither smart nor honorable budgeting. This is deadbeat budgeting.
In about one month our nation will hit the “debt ceiling.” It’ll need to be raised, officially by Congress, so that we don’t default. Raising the debt limit is simply a promise that our nation’s credit is good and that we’ll pay our bills. In our history we have never, ever defaulted. What seems to escape Mr. Haslip is that our debt is money Congress has already authorized and spent!
Refusing to pay our bills does not put us in a stronger financial (fiscal) position as Mr. Haslip argues. If we don’t raise the debt ceiling the repercussions will be catastrophic. Interest rates on our debt would immediately skyrocket which, ironically, would balloon our debt even further, upsetting me and Jerry. Closer to home, Social Security payments would not go out. Veterans’ pay will stop. Air traffic controllers, immigration patrolmen, and food inspectors would be just a few who would stop working. Our economy would nosedive into recession. None of us wants or needs that.
Yet this nuclear scenario is exactly what Mr. Haslip and tea party, now mainstream, Republicans are threatening. They want to hold America hostage–our seniors, veterans, and all Americans–if we don’t pay the “ransom” of massive spending cuts. Not cuts to our bloated military budget, but deep, draconian cuts to our social safety net programs–Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to name a few.
Not to beat a dead horse but Congress has already authorized the spending that is causing our national debt to rise. Mr. Haslip lays the debt blame solely on the ” tax and spend liberals.” But do you remember the “unpaid for” trillion dollar W. Bush war in Iraq? How about the trillion dollar Bush tax cuts for millionaires, or the Medicare Part D drug benefit–all signed by W. Bush and charged on our national “credit card.” Do you remember who last balanced our nation’s budget and even gave us a surplus? A “tax and spend liberal” President Clinton.
The question is: Will we honor our debt and pay our bills as a country? Or do we, as Mr. Haslip and fellow “new” Republicans advocate: Spend willy-nilly, rack up the big credit card bill, the huge bar tab, the extravagant restaurant bill, and then just decide not to pay it? Mr. Haslip may advocate mooching, but our nation and President do not. Nor do I.
Mr. Haslip, has it occurred to you that if you want to address our rising debt and cut spending, then…cut spending! It’s that simple. There are venues for doing this. Remember, it’s Congress which must pass a budget, signed afterwards by the President.
Jerry Haslip would fit in well with most House Republicans who are willing to threaten our nation’s full faith and credit, as they did in August 2011. They’re willing to torpedo our country’s credit and stop crucial payments to social security seniors and our veterans, just to prove they have the power of a hostage taker. This is the thoughtless and dangerous thinking of mainstream Republicans these days. I predict they’ll fail because it’s an idiotic stunt and politically a loser. There are smarter, more thoughtful ways of dealing with our deficits and debt. We need a balanced approach that puts it all on the table–taxes, entitlements, and military spending.
As Americans are becoming educated on these issues, they’re squarely putting the blame for Washington DC’s foot dragging and can kicking where it mostly belongs–on the backs of extremist Republican politicians and their unfortunate followers. It’s time to do the responsible thing by paying our bills and raising the debt limit. Then we can get serious about a responsible budget and , in doing so, addressing our deficits and debt. Now’s not the time to follow Mr. Haslip’s advice. Whether you’re a nation state or a citizen of that nation, the right thing to do is be responsible and pay your bills. To do otherwise is to be a deadbeat.
Van P. Keele