Tags: Sargent | debt | ceiling | deficit

WaPo's Sargent: 'Conservatives Are Spoiling for a Debt Ceiling Fight'

Tuesday, 09 Jul 2013 12:11 PM

By Michael Kling

Another debt ceiling limit faceoff may be approaching, despite a falling deficit and sequester cuts.

"Conservatives are spoiling for a debt ceiling fight, and have been led to believe they are getting one, so they must have it, even if the deficit is dropping and sequestration cuts continue," writes Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent.

Sargent notes that, according to White House figures, the federal budget deficit for the current fiscal year will drop to $759 billion, $200 billion less that it predicted just three months ago.

Editor's Note:
The Truth About the Economy — Government Documents Lead to Eerie Conclusion

The Congressional Budget Office also reports that the deficit is shrinking, as an improving economy is bringing in more revenues and automatic, across-the-board cuts known as sequester reducing government expenditures.

"The case against the need for more immediate austerity has become overwhelming, yet nothing is changing," Sargent says.

The sequester has prompted furloughs of over 650,000 Defense Department workers and even some Republican governors protest the impact cuts have on the states' disaster preparedness.

"But that won’t stop Congressional Republicans," he writes, "from insisting that any budget deal to replace the sequester must be accomplished only with spending cuts elsewhere without a penny coming from ending tax loopholes enjoyed by the rich."

The falling deficit shows that the motivation to cut spending was not reducing the deficit but was really about "cutting government for its own sake," Sargent notes.

The debt ceiling controversy, he adds, was not about controlling spending in the first place, since raising the ceiling only allows the government to pay for spending Congress previously approved, not increasing spending.

House Republicans are preparing a list of spending cuts they will demand in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, in what may be the opening bid in a high-stakes gamble.

President Obama has said he won't negotiate over the debt ceiling, but Republicans think he may be bluffing, according to the National Journal. In the Republicans' worst-case scenario, Obama could reach a bi-partisan deal with the Senate that puts the heat on House Republicans who could take the blame for a U.S. default or be forced to accept a deal they dislike.

It's not clear when the United States will reach its debt ceiling limit, as the date moves back due to lower spending and additional tax revenues.

Editor's Note: The Truth About the Economy — Government Documents Lead to Eerie Conclusion

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