Statement by Jamie Radtke on Impending Vote to Increase the Debt Ceiling
President Obama’s Chief Economic Advisor said this week that a failure to raise the national debt ceiling would be “a sign of insanity” and “catastrophic.” To the contrary, it would be a sure sign of insanity for Congress to repeat its past mistakes of simply raising the debt ceiling instead of making the hard decision to cut spending. That’s a decision that most Americans know is inevitable.
The true catastrophe facing the nation is an ever-increasing national debt that weakens the dollar, makes the United States dependent on foreign nations to buy our bonds and invites punishing inflation. For years, our elected officials in Washington have refused to address their problem of spending at unsustainable levels.
In 2006, then Senator Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling, calling the practice of routinely doing so “a failure of leadership.” He was correct. Congress should refuse to raise the debt ceiling this time, which would force the spending cuts that are essential to restore fiscal sanity.
Americans know that raising the debt ceiling is akin to a hopelessly insolvent individual raising his credit card limit instead of addressing the underlying problem of spending beyond his means. The voters said last November that they wanted courageous leadership – the kind that Mr. Obama himself called for in 2006.
Congress should use the vote on raising the debt ceiling as an opportunity to isolate the most critical decision, which is whether drastic cuts are necessary now and not later.
The stakes are too high to tolerate politics as usual. Let’s have a straightforward vote on whether to cut spending or to continue becoming more and more dependent on foreign governments to lend us more and more money at great risk to our national security by voting for an increase to the debt ceiling.