Remember that huge political struggle over the debt ceiling last summer, in which doors were slammed, promises were made, and the Vice President referred to people interested in fiscal discipline as “traitors?” It ended with the Budget Control Act of 2011, whose absolute worthlessness has been made abundantly clear. The deficit-cutting Super Committee was a total bust, and now Reuters brings us word that President Obama wants to raise the debt ceiling again. And not just by a little – President Downgrade wants another $1.2 trillion added to the national debt.
The White House plans to ask Congress for an increase in the debt limit before the end of the week, according to a senior Treasury Department official.
The debt limit is projected to fall within $100 billion of the current cap by December 30. President Barack Obama is expected to ask for additional borrowing authority to increase the limit by $1.2 trillion.
Under the new budget, Congress can only vote to block the debt-ceiling extension with a disapproval resolution. Lawmakers have 15 days within receiving the request to vote down the debt limit increase.
The debt limit currently stands at $15.194 trillion and would increase to $16.394 trillion with the request.
(Emphasis mine.) Obama slips off that silly “deficit hawk” costume with remarkable speed, once he knows he can’t use it to cudgel any new taxes out of the American people. The new debt ceiling didn’t even quite get us to the end of this year? What an utter disgrace for everyone involved, from the White House to Capitol Hill.
For those of you keeping score, the national debt was $10.7 trillion when Obama took office (and that was far too high.) Now it’s going to be at least $16.394 trillion before he’s gone, and that’s assuming the new $1.2 trillion tides him over until January 2013.
It is absolutely and indisputably clear that there are only two ways to enforce real fiscal discipline on Washington: either leave the debt ceiling in place, and force the federal government to begin emergency liposuction procedures, or pass the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act. There is no reason for the American people to waste a moment of their time on fantasies about blue-ribbon committees, 10-year spending reductions, or other delaying tactics to keep us distracted until we crash into the debt ceiling again.
Update: I should clarify that the new debt ceiling increase is not a contravention of the Budget Control Act of 2011 – these are all mechanisms laid out in the deal, including the “stop it if you dare” system where Congress could conceivably block the requested increase by voting against it. That’s why I thought the BCA was a joke at the time, and think so even more now that we’ve arrived at the drive-thru to order our next super-sized deficit burger combo. The surprising part of today’s story is that we got here so quickly.
Speaking of that Congressional blocking mechanism, the vote must occur within 15 days of the requested debt ceiling increase. In this case, that would mean no later than January 14. Congress is out of session until January 17.