Instant Balanced Budget: Don’t Raise the Debt Ceiling

By Bryan Fischer

Well, it turns out we don’t have as much time as we thought. We are going to hit the legal limit on borrowing to increase the national debt in less than a week.

We’ve got about $25 billion in borrowing authority left, and we’re plowing through that at about $4.5 billion a day. The math is not difficult here, although the economic catastrophe Obama has created for the country he despises is.

Terry Jeffrey points out that in the last six days, Obama has been “blowing a hole in the deficit,” to use Al Gore’s colorful phrase from the 2000 campaign, at warp speed, a mind-boggling $9.4 billion a day. This would get us about to Easter morn before we stand in desperate need of another miracle of resurrection, this time of the economic variety.

Tiny Tim Geithner can stretch the deadline about another 40 days at $4 billion a day, but at this week’s voracious rate, we’d have about 17 days before hitting a concrete wall. In other words, we’re out of money and out of options – other than not spending more than comes in – by May 11.

What to do? The answer is simple, straightforward and requires nothing more than the courage of GOP convictions, which have been in dangerously short supply in recent weeks. The answer: do not, under any circumstances, raise the debt ceiling. Period.

The Republicans are out there, sadly, saying they’ll only do it if they get “meaningful” spending reductions in return, whatever that means. The boldest among them want a vote on a balanced budget amendment (BBA) first.

If the GOP is going to go down this road, then they better get the vote on a BBA first, before they commit to doing anything about the debt ceiling. If a BBA gets through Congress, and is shipped to the states for ratification, then perhaps at that point they can consider raising the debt ceiling. But they must not, under any circumstances, agree to any raise in the debt ceiling before that vote takes place. They must not do it on the mere promise of a vote. No actual vote on a BBA, no vote on the debt ceiling.

But there is a much simpler and faster way to a balanced budget.

If your goal is a balanced budget, then don’t raise the debt ceiling. If the debt ceiling is not raised, and the government cannot borrow any more money, we will have an instant balanced budget on that very day, on day one. The latest date by which we would have a balanced federal budget would be May 11.

No need to go through the rigmarole of getting a constitutional amendment through Congress, no need to wait for years while the states debate it and vote on it and we continue to hemorrhage red ink in the meantime.

We will be instantly forced to “live within our means,” the president’s latest mantra. Well, Mr. President, here’s an opportunity to put our money where your mouth is.

Republicans: I beseech you by all that is sane and fiscally responsible, vote “No” on an increase in the debt ceiling – no concessions, no votes, just a plain, bald-faced, bold-faced “No.” Period. End of story.

We will hear ceaseless moaning and watch endless wringing of the hands from Democrats and spineless Republicans about default and credit crisis, etcetera ad nauseum. This vote will separate the lambs from the lions, the timid from the bold, the weak-kneed followers from the courageous leaders our nation needs at this critical juncture in our history.

Republicans, you want your floor speech? Just dig up the eloquent remarks from Barack Obama in 2006 against raising the debt ceiling and have every member of your caucus deliver that same speech, one after another. Make the Democrats choke on their own vomitus.

If Obama’s words aren’t sufficient, grab Harry Reid’s and use those.

On my program three weeks ago, I asked Rep. Michele Bachmann if she would vote to raise the debt ceiling. She answered with one word, an utterly unqualified “No.” If she wants to be our next president, she’d be smart to repeat that answer to her colleagues, the rest of Congress, and the United States of America.

We will hear endless bloviation about the danger of default. Tiny Tim will plaster a permanent frown on his youthful face, and talk about Armageddon.

It’s all hype and fear-mongering.

Revenue – $2.2 trillion worth – will continue to flow into the bloated coffers of the United States government. Just $200 billion of that is required to service the debt. That’s 10 percent of revenues. We have ten times as much revenue as we need to avoid default. If we do as Sen. Pat Toomey has proposed, and just make our first priority with that $2.2 trillion to service our nation’s debt, default will never happen.

My wife and I once experienced a dramatic 40% drop in family revenue due to a job change. We prioritized, and made debt service on the mortgage our first priority so we wouldn’t default and wind up out on the street. There is absolutely no reason why our federal government cannot do what ordinary families have to do – set priorities and adjust expenses to match revenue.

Making debt service our first priority with the federal budget will still leave us with $2 trillion to run our country. Anybody who cannot run a country on $2 trillion needs to get a new job or get a new country.

Sure, we will have to make tough choices. Again, the simple thing is once again to follow the president’s advice rather than his example. He keeps telling us that “everybody has to take a haircut,” we’ve got to do this thing with “shared sacrifice.” Fine. Cut everybody the same percentage. Everybody feels the pain, everybody shares the sacrifice. Just like the president says.

We keep hearing about how bright and talented our federal employees are, and how much they deserve to be paid twice what people in the private sector get. Well, here is their chance to prove it. If they are as gifted as we are told, then they ought to be able to figure out how to make do with less.

Now is no time for the GOP to go wobbly. It’s time to dig in and take an unbudging, principled stand for fiscal sanity and the future of our country. The only question that remains: Do GOP lawmakers have the guts to do what’s right, or will they collapse again like a cheap Bedouin tent in a stiff desert breeze?

(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)

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Self-Educated American contributing editor, Bryan Fischer, is Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association, and is the host of the daily ‘Focal Point’ radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association. ‘Focal Point’ airs live from 1-3 pm Central Time, and is also simulcast on the AFA Channel, which can be seen on the Sky Angel network.