Debt Ceiling Scare Tactics

The Democrats and their media allies are in the midst of their usual campaign to pressure Republicans to vote for an increase in the debt ceiling.  The national debt now stands at over 31 trillion dollars.  The debt will never be paid.  This amount is more than any government has ever repaid throughout history.  The only questions are about the exact nature of the ultimate disaster and how soon that will happen.  The left's tactics in this campaign should be obvious and have been the same for many years.

The left has spread the idea that failing to raise the debt limit somehow equals "default" on the existing debt.  While the U.S. will someday default on the national debt, such a default will not be caused by a refusal to raise the debt limit.  In fact, refusing to raise the debt limit might delay any default for a long time.  In 2022, the federal government's revenue almost equaled 5 trillion dollars.  At the same time, service/interest on the debt was less than 400 billion dollars.  There is enough tax revenue to service the national debt every year without increased borrowing.

What leftists fear is that refusing to raise the debt limit would allow insufficient funds for their agenda.  They might not be able to continue bribing the voters or to fund the war in Ukraine or to fund other failing domestic policies, etc.

The left's argument forgets the rest of the budget and focuses only on the current debt payments.  But there is no need for the government to default on debt service payments — especially if we do not raise the total debt limit.

Despite these facts, numerous articles have appeared — on schedule — to warn us of the dangers of "default."   A "default" will cause mortgage rates to spike, the housing market to collapse, and Social Security checks to be delayed.  They even tell us which states will be hit hardest by a "default."  An NBC headline warns of the clock ticking down on "debt default."

These articles fail to explain how refusing to raise the debt limit equates to a "default."  Repetition and fear take the place of an argument.

The threat to Social Security checks is most curious.  Social Security is supposed to be separate from the rest of the federal government's money.  The government is supposed to deduct certain money from earners' paychecks and hold that money in trust until the earner retires.  Social Security is not supposed to depend on federal borrowing — especially borrowing amounts in excess of 31 trillion dollars.  We are thus reassured every time some reform is proposed for the Social Security system.  But now we read that the Social Security scheme depends on ever increasing borrowing in unspecified amounts.

Using Social Security as a scare tactic is only a slight variation on the Democrats' perennial election-year strategy of accusing every Republican congressman of voting to "cut" social security.  If nothing else, Social Security is a fertile field for dishonest Democrat campaign and legislative tacticians.

During prior administrations, Congress refused to increase the debt ceiling for a short time after the ceiling was reached.  The government did not "default."  Certain government functions simply stopped for a while.  The MSM described the resulting standoff as a government "shutdown."  But the world did not end.  In lieu of the end of the world, President Obama held national monuments hostage.  He engaged in extra expense to deprive the public of items that cost nothing.  He parked vehicles in such a way as to block the view of Mount Rushmore.  He ordered extra fencing to be erected to block pedestrians from approaching monuments in Washington, D.C.  These steps cost money and saved nothing.  But the public was inconvenienced and deprived of tourist attractions.

Leftists want the U.S. to go deeper into debt.  They would prefer to scare and bluff us rather than make pathetic attempts to block our view of monuments.  If the scare tactics do not work, they will find other ways to hurt us.  It will be curious to see if they threaten to stop vaccinating us against COVID.

The left repeats its assumption that refusing to raise the limit equals default because conservatives never disprove that assumption.  Biden spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre recently equated raising the debt limit to private citizens paying car or mortgage payments.  Conservatives' only response was to point out the administration's "hypocrisy" with an analogy to student loans.  That response is clever but misses the point.  We oppose raising the debt limit not because the Democrats want to forgive student loans.  We oppose increased borrowing because such borrowing will lead ultimately to a calamity from which we cannot recover.

A proper response to Jean-Pierre would have reminded the world that paying the debt service does not depend on raising the debt limit.  Such response would also emphasize that federal spending is not a car or a house.  We voluntarily buy our houses and cars and receive a benefit from them.  We do not choose the government "services" that the government funds by borrowing.  Those services are imposed on us by force.  Those services are also inferior to our houses and cars.  If our major purchases worked as poorly as the government programs, we would all die in car wrecks or be stranded on the roads.  Our houses would collapse on our heads.  The government is a hindrance to our prosperity — not a consumer good that a sane person would willingly pay for.

When a thief robs us, he flees the crime scene.  He does not require continuing monthly payments.  Only organized crime and the government do that.  Organized crime does not orchestrate media campaigns to lie to us.  That is solely the function of our government.

We face the collapse of another economic bubble, commonly called a "recession."  That recession looms because the government recently inflated the money supply in order to buy votes ("stimulus" packages, etc.).  Both parties took part because they either wanted to buy votes or were afraid of being blamed for "COVID."  The Democrats bought many votes.  The Republicans were blamed for COVID anyway.  Inflation was the result.  The Federal Reserve then restricted the money supply to stop us from following in the footsteps of Weimar Germany.  Inflation slows, but recession looms.

This cycle of boom and bust has been the pattern of our economy ever since the creation of the Federal Reserve more than a century ago.  The symptoms of bust that we now endure are part of this cycle and do not result from any refusal to raise the debt limit.  Blaming current conditions on the debt ceiling "crisis" is another lie that will both scare us and bore us in the immediate future.

There is a day of reckoning coming.  We cannot repay 31 trillion dollars.  Someday, it will be impossible even to service that debt.  The bigger that debt becomes, the sooner the day of reckoning will arrive.  Those who want to borrow more are the ones who will bring about all of the horrors (and more) that today's headlines threaten.

Image: pasja1000 via Pixabay, Pixabay License.

If you experience technical problems, please write to