I am no economist. In fact, as I researched for this piece and saw the diversity of opinions floating in the blogosphere and in the main stream press, it became clear to me that I am completely out of my element went it comes to national economics.
However, I am a tax payer. I am a small business owner, and I am a person that understands the concept of living beyond your means. I've even written about it before.
There is no doubt that the debt ceiling is a complicated matter. I've switched sides numerous times in this debate. Most of the time, I think to myself, "If they just keep raising it every time they want to spend more what's the point? Don't raise it again or it's worthless!" This will also easily lead me to the conclusion that it's not becoming worthless, it is worthless. And since it's worthless, let's not waste time debating whether or not to raise it when we could be focusing on spending.
Depending on which of these two opinions I'm feeling at any given moment, I can find a number of articles that will either support one position or the other. While some make the case that keeping the debt ceiling where it is will have virtually no effect on us, others say it's the worst thing we can do in the middle of a recession. And this is not evenly divided on partisan lines. I've found people both for and against on both sides of the aisle.
Without a strong position among those on my side of the aisle, and with my limited economic understanding that I mentioned earlier, I must revert to what rarely fails me: My gut. And my gut says to leave the debt ceiling exactly where it is.
Ronald Reagan's famous use of analogies fits quite well with the current situation.
At the time, Reagan believed that the "allowance" was tax revenue. The theory was, cut the tax revenue and the government will have to prioritize it's spending differently. I don't think he could've predicted that government would become so irresponsible as to endlessly spend using debt with no real restraint on how much can be borrowed.
Not surprisingly, Washington is claiming that we are being too simplistic for feeling this way. It's "more complicated than that." We "can't see all of the consequences that will occur" if we don't raise the debt ceiling.
But this way of thinking is precisely why I have come to my final conclusion on this matter. To Washington, negative consequences will come only if we can't borrow more money to fill the gaps that are inevitably popping up as a result of taking in less than we spend. This is the fundamental difference between average Americans and the Washington elites: negative consequences to you and me, are what happens as a result of bad decisions. Negative consequences to Washington, are what happens when you are no longer given the opportunity to push reality off to the next election cycle.
The government has two choices in front of them: Raise the debt ceiling and continue to borrow while making minimal effort to control spending; or, cut the allowance and force them to end this madness.
I know that some will look at this point of view as simplistic and a naive perspective on economics from someone who admits to be a novice. Honestly, I couldn't care less. Because while the pundits and the elites have been running around for decades telling everyone that they don't understand how complex everything is, the American people have been watching as the debt climbs, the deficits explode, and the spending increases.
Don't tell me how naive I am for wanting the government to live within it's means. These experts have had 40 years to prove that their way works. It doesn't. And frankly, I don't give a damn how complicated it is. Figure it out.
Whether it's tax revenue, debt limits,or both, the concept that Reagan put forward in that famous debate is very much tied to current events: "Government does not tax to get the money it needs. Government will always need the money it gets."
Don't raise the debt ceiling.