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Quick thoughts on the debt ceiling

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A few quick thoughts on the debt ceiling.

One is that while the debt ceiling increase being discussed essentially authorizes two years' worth of deficits, the cuts and revenue increases being discussed are ten years' worth. To make them comparable, one has to mentally divide the cuts by or revenue increases by five to get a two year figure - and even that's generous, since I bet those are back loaded - or multiply the debt ceiling increase by five to get a ten year figure. Once you do the arithmetic, it's obvious that even the biggest numbers being thrown around aren't going to make much of a dent in the deficit.

Another is that, having lived in DC for a decade a while back, it's quite amazing that the debate is even happening. Traditionally debt ceiling increases are passed with no or minimal debate, preferably in the dead of the night, because not doing so threatens every congressman's pork. The fact that there are so many congressmen willing to go to the brink suggests that at least some are taking seriously their pledges to avoid earmarks and pork.
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On July 29th, 2011 01:45 am (UTC), mjperson commented:
I'd think that if they were serious about such pledges, they'd take it up with the appropriations bills, not with the debt ceiling needed to pay for the appropriations they've already passed. The reason you raise the debt ceiling in the middle of the night is because it's necessary but unpalatable. Holding it hostage in the light of day does not make it less necessary.
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On July 29th, 2011 02:34 am (UTC), psychohist replied:
Re: Serious.
That would make a little sense if people were willing to accept a debt ceiling increase that only lasted through September, which is as far as money has been appropriated for.

It wouldn't make complete sense, though, since many of those fighting it actually didn't vote for the many of the appropriations that are being covered - either because the money is for entitlements which don't need to be authorized each year, or because the whole reason they are in office is because of people being voted out for making those appropriations.
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