by Jacob G. Hornberger
A congressional vote next spring will flush out the frauds currently serving in Congress — the ones who rail against federal spending and borrowing while supporting the programs and policies that are funded by the spending and borrowing. The vote will be over whether the so-called federal debt ceiling should be raised. It will be the frauds who vote “yes” on the bill.
After all, what is a debt “ceiling” or a debt “limit”? It’s a term by which Congress promises the American people that the federal government’s total indebtedness will not exceed a particular amount.
The debt limit was set last February in the amount of $14.3 trillion. Today, federal debt stands at $14 trillion. This spring, as federal debt continues to rise Congress will vote on whether to maintain the limit or to raise it.
What’s going to happen when the debt ceiling is reached in the next few months?
Here’s what should happen: The government should simply stop adding to the amount of the federal debt. That’s what a ceiling is all about. That’s what a limit means.
That obviously means slashing federal spending. If that means bringing the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, so be it. If that means abolishing Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, Social Security, foreign aid, education grants, or any other welfare program, so be it. If that means ending the drug war, so be it. If that means abolishing departments and agencies and laying off thousands of federal employees, so be it.
Whatever needs to be done to ensure that the debt ceiling is not exceeded is what needs to be done. That’s what a limit means — that it cannot be exceeded. Otherwise, if the government continually raises the ceiling, thereby exceeding it, then it really isn’t a ceiling or a limit. Instead, the imposition of a ceiling, with full knowledge that it will be exceeded when the debt reaches that point, is nothing more than a fraud on the American people.
Yet, my prediction is that most members of Congress will do what they’ve been doing for years whenever the debt ceiling is reached. They’ll simply “raise” the ceiling to a higher level, thereby enabling the federal government to continue adding to its debt levels.
By raising the debt ceiling, this longtime congressional fraud on the American people will be perpetuated. The fraud will come in the form of another representation by Congress that there is now a new debt ceiling or limit on the federal government. But everyone knows that the representation will be false. Everyone knows that when the total debt bumps up against the new ceiling a year or so from now, the fraudulent process will play out again.
In fact, if Congress once again votes to raise the debt ceiling, then it ought to at least play straight with the American people and simply abolish the entire concept of a debt ceiling or limit. At least then, Congress would be telling the truth — that there is no limit on the amount of debt that the federal government will incur as part of its welfare-warfare state and there never has been a limit.
Throughout the recent congressional campaigns, Republicans and Tea Party types, and even a few Democrats, railed against out-of-control federal spending and borrowing. Now, they have a real opportunity to do something about it. They can vote against the bill to raise the debt ceiling by declaring, “A ceiling is a ceiling. A ceiling cannot be raised or exceeded without effectively nullifying the concept of a ceiling. The total amount of debt permitted to be incurred by the federal government has now been reached. It’s time now to slash spending to avoid any further borrowing.”
The upcoming vote on the debt ceiling will soon flush out the frauds currently serving in Congress.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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