A Pre-Election Day Debt Limit Hike Issue?

February 17, 2012 05:09 AM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Get ready for another debt-limit hike political brawl

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

The U.S. Treasury Department will reach the latest statutory debt limit before election day Nov. 6, according to a new study by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio,) former director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

But Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, asked about the matter on Thursday during a Senate Budget Committee hearing, said: "We do not expect to hit the debt limit until quite late in the year, significantly after the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 3), but before the end of the calendar year."

The need for another debt-limit hike is already playing into Nov. 6 election talk. Sen. Portman said that "following the contentious debt ceiling [debate] last August, President Obama promised that he would take action to address the country's fiscal crisis. He has failed to do that. In fact, his new budget increases spending and projects that Washington will be hitting the debt ceiling again in mi-October – burning through a $2.1 trillion debt limit increase in just over 14 months."

Portman's office details that according to Obama's budget, total debt subject to the statutory debt limit will reach $16.334 trillion by September 30, 2012. This is just $60 billion below the $16,394,000,000,000 debt limit. Since the federal government is adding to the national debt at a rate of $132 billion a month, the debt ceiling is on schedule to be reached by Oct. 15, 2012.

Geithner as noted did not put a specific date on reaching the latest debt limit.

Comments: Both political parties will, regretfully, play politics, again, with this contentious issue. No wonder Congress' approval rating is flirting with the single-digit level. There are very few leaders (statesmen) in either party. It's all politics, all the time. Some even speculate the White House would love a debt-limit hike spat just before the elections, because they know Republicans, especially in the House, will have an internal spat about the matter and overreach.. They know that some very biased cable news programs will post a countdown to the debt limit being reached, just as they did last year. I just wish there were a movement to vote every sitting lawmaker out of office. Only then would the current bunch of me-only lawmakers understand what most Americans know: Congress is out of touch with reality. After Nov. 6 elections, there better be a return to leaders in Washington -- both in Congress and the White House. Congress needs statesmen, the White House needs a president for the entire country, not just for a political party. We haven't had this for a while under administrations led by both Republicans and Democrats -- so both political parties have more than a little blame at their doorstep. If leaders do not lead after Nov. 6, the bond market at some time will show them who is boss. Count on it. Now that's a 24/7 clock I will be interested in because that will force lawmakers and the White House to lead.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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