Note to Bill O'Reilly: Congress Is Self-Destructive
Radio Host Mark Levin often points out the peculiar fact that a frequent target of Cable News King Bill O'Reilly's ire is...his own audience.
Bill-O's contempt was on display last night when he accused the tea party movement of being "self-destructive" because many Republican leaders have taken a hard line against raising the debt ceiling. I respectfully disagree with my AT colleague, Jon N. Hall, who endorsed O'Reilly's analysis. (I encourage readers to review Jon's take.)
To begin, O'Reilly cites S&P's warning about a cut in the U.S. credit rating. If O'Reilly wants to protect the country's credit rating, perhaps he should do better homework. He might notice that the credit rating agency Egan-Jones has already cut America's ranking. The downgrade was unrelated to debt ceiling, rather they see what tea partiers in Congress see, that the federal government has no viable plan to stop its decent into fiscal insolvency.
"There is a way to raise the national debt ceiling," O'Reily asserts, "while at the same time drastically cutting federal spending and reforming the unfair tax code." Certainly there is a way to do that. But "a way" isn't what congress is voting on. Tea partiers in congress must vote on a plan someone has offered.
The most aggressive of those plans cuts spending by a maximum of $3 trillion over ten years. But history shows that such ten year plans are forgotten by the time the president's signature dries. Even if we believe that government will follow through on promised cuts, ten years from now the national debt will be between $25 and $35 trillion. The "mainstream" fight in DC is whether we'll prolong national bankruptcy by, at most, one year. Simply put, given the scale of our debt problem, no "drastic" cuts to federal spending are on the table--except not raising the debt ceiling.
O'Reilly goes on: "If America starts to spend responsibly, America's debt will go down and there will be no need to ever raise the debt ceiling again." The $2.5 trillion limit increase Obama is pushing is not billed as the last debt limit ever, only enough to get past the next election.
O'Reilly wraps up with this: "Most Americans do not like extremism in politics." Apparently balanced budgets are extreme and $30 trillion dollars in debt is reasonable.
O'Reilly adds, "We need a sane compromise and tough economic reform in this country." This is classic Obama-style wordsmithing. Do not address the real concerns and arguments of your opponents. Make the solution to a big problem seem easy. Imply those who don't agree with you as insane and/or unreasonable.
The debt ceiling debate is not a matter of one option with bad consequences and one without consequences. Every alternative is fraught with problems. Despite the negative ramifications, not raising the debt ceiling (short of getting a balance budget amendment in return) may be the only way to truly address the problem.
H/T: Mark Levin