Raise the National Debt, Not the Debt Ceiling

No, that is not my recommendation. It’s what House Republicans seemingly want to do, according to Washington Post columnist Matt Miller:

Remember that great scene in the 1980 film classic, “The Shining,” when the wife comes upon the typewriter of the Jack Nicholson character, who’s supposed to have been working night and day for months on his novel? To her horror, she finds thousands of pages on which Jack has typed, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” formatted in countless, crazy ways. Suddenly his suspected madness becomes all too frighteningly real.Well, debt limit mania has driven me to a similar frenzied state. If my wife came across my manuscript it would read, “The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit. The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit.”

I thought about making this week’s column that one sentence printed over and over 30 times. It would have been the opinion page equivalent of a Dada-esque protest against the inanity of the debate — and a cry for every news outlet to focus on this simple, clarifying fact.
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For the life of me I don’t understand why the press doesn’t shove this fact in front of every Republican who says the debt limit cannot be raised unless serious new spending cuts are put in place. The supposedly “courageous,” “visionary” Paul Ryan plan — which already contains everything Republicans can think of in terms of these spending cuts — would add more debt than we’ve ever seen over a 10-year period in American history. Yet Ryan and other House GOP leaders continue to make outrageous statements to the contrary.

Without blushing. And without anyone calling them on it.

And the Democrats? (Emphasis is mine.)

The Democrats’ plans are no better on the debt (though it must be noted that the Congressional Progressive Caucus plan wins the fiscal responsibility derby thus far; it reaches balance by 2021 largely through assorted tax hikes and defense cuts). But at least Democrats aren’t rattling markets by hypocritically holding the debt limit hostage while planning to add trillions in fresh debt themselves.

More on this from Politico:

In the most recent budget battle — over a six-month spending bill — Republican leaders carefully avoided threatening to shut down the government. Now, Cantor says he’s ready to plunge the nation into default if the GOP’s demands are not met. People close to Cantor say that he hopes to make clear that small concessions from Democrats, including President Barack Obama, will not be enough to deliver the GOP on a debt increase.

From Miller’s online bio (h/t Jonathan Cohn):

… Miller consults to corporations, foundations and government organizations on issues of strategy, policy and communications.

Earlier in his career, Miller held senior posts in both government and business. Miller served as a Senior Advisor in the White House Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1995, where his duties including managing the staff work for presidential decision making on the budget, and leading management studies both for OMB and the White House. From 1991 to 1992 he was a White House Fellow, serving as Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Prior to his government service, Mr. Miller did a stint with McKinsey, where from 1989 to 1991 he managed strategy and organization assignments for media and retail companies.

Author: KATHY KATTENBURG