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House passed measure guaranteeing no default; Reid stripped it out

October 3, 2013

“It would be a catastrophe, Democrats say, but they refuse to prevent it”.

The next time you hear Democrats shrieking about how irresponsible it is for Republicans to “risk default” on the nation’s debt obligations, know this: Default would be impossible if the Senate passed, and if Obama signed, a House measure that makes debt payments the government’s top priority in the event the debt ceiling is not raised. But they refuse.

The Wall Street Journal:

The McClintock-Toomey bill replicates the guarantees that state constitutions have had for hundreds of years to strengthen investor confidence. It gives the Treasury Secretary discretion to prioritize among other federal obligations until the political deadlock ends, tempers cool and the parties can reach a deal. But it makes his first priority to protect the full faith and credit of the U.S.

Yet instead of embracing this insurance against default, Democrats have voted to kill it even as they cry havoc about the risk of default. The House passed McClintock-Toomey in May, but only on a 221 to 207 party-line vote after a raucous debate. The White House issued a formal veto threat, calling it “unwise, unworkable and unacceptably risky.”

House Republicans have continued to press the measure, attaching it to a continuing resolution last week. But Mr. Reid moved to strip it out, and his motion passed the Senate 54 to 44. The Majority Leader denounced McClintock-Toomey as the “Pay China First Act.”

Nice, Harry. You xenophobic jerk.

Obviously Democrats have two objections to this, one substantive and one political. The substantive one is really political too. They live to dole out government goodies to loyal Democratic voting blocs. If the government has to exist solely on tax revenues, and they have to pay their debt service, they can’t possibly find enough money from what’s leftover to make entitlement payments, fund federal programs, pay farmers not to grow food, pay special subsidies to congressional employees to relieve them of the cost of ObamaCare . . . you get the idea. The blatantly political objection is that you can’t launch into hysterics about how your opponents want to default on the debt if you’ve just signed a measure they sponsored preventing that from happening.

Now it’s certainly true that a lot of committed federal spending would go unfunded if the government couldn’t borrow any more money. And yes, that would create a lot of problems for people who have become conditioned to depend on that money. But what does that tell you? It tells you that Washington has made a habit of refusing to make choices, instead choosing to simply spend on everything without regard to the reality presented by limited revenues.

Responsible people understand that you can’t say yes to everything, because you don’t have enough money for everything. The federal government sees no reason to operate under such constraints when it can just borrow endlessly and rack up debt. The real reason Democrats are so horrified at the prospect of not having the debt ceiling raised is that, for once, it would force them to prioritize and choose. They absolutely do not want to do that.

The debt ceiling is the law of the land too

By the way, the Journal’s James Taranto made a great point about this the other day. Democrats are always insisting that ObamaCare should be untouchable because it’s “the law of the land.” The debt ceiling is the law of the land too. Every time Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling, it essentially repeals the previously set ceiling and demonstrates to all the world that it was never serious about setting a “ceiling” in the first place. If Congress insists that the last ceiling it set needs to stay in place and actually mean something, official Washington goes ballistic.

But it’s the law of the land! And it would also be the law of the land that we won’t default of Democrats would get on board with a Republican measure that ensures what they insist they want. But of course, what they really want is to beat up Republicans about risking the very thing Democrats just might guarantee.

Credit To:  Dan Calabrese / Canada Free Press

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