Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1, 2011

     The House of Representatives has voted against raising the ceiling, the limit, of the national debt.  This is politics, of course, like just about everything the Congress does, but it could have serious consequences.   If Congress really won't raise the limit, the United States would go into default.  This means it would refuse to pay its debts and people or countries which had bought government bonds would be holding potentially worthless pieces of paper.  That would mean chaos, or close to it..
     This probably won't happen.  Congressional Republicans say they'll vote to raise the limit only if such a vote is accompanied by massive cuts in government spending.  Tim Pawlenty, the latest GOP presidential wannabee, favors cuts in Social Security.   I'll bet a lot of old folks and their kids would vote against that.  I wouldn't mind if we pulled out of Afghanistan and cut defense spending in, say, half.  A lot of conservatives would think that was a terrible idea.  So, it isn't easy.
     Congressional Republicans and then-President Bill Clinton had a huge budget fight back in the 1990s.  That time, the Republicans lost.
     This time?  Well, the House Republicans are meeting the president today--the first time that's happend--and of course both sides know the stakes are high.  White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that default would be "calamitous."  We'll see.

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