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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fiscal Fracas: What To Do About the Debt Ceiling

Now that the Casey Anthony trial is over, the cable news media can redirect its attention to much more important matters. Lately there's been a spike in coverage of/relating to the debate over raising the debt limit and the larger issue of how to get our fiscal house in order. This has given me a lot to talk/write about, and even when I pare it down to what people need to hear and what I think their actually interested in, I'm still left with far to much material for a single post. So, today I am starting a new series about the federal budget. In addition to providing my personal analyses of things I pick up on, I'll be offerring some of my own ideas for dealing with the fiscal challenges that confront us. As usual, I'll be careful to only speak authoritatively about things where such a confident and assertive tone is justified.

Right now, the hottest issue in the fiscal arena concerns the national debt ceiling/limit. Before I get into specifics, there are a lot of questions that Americans are asking (or should be) about this topic:

What is the Debt Limit?
The debt limit or "debt ceiling" is an arbitrary number limiting the amount of money our federal government can borrow. If the national debt ever exceeds that limit, then planes will fall out of the sky mid-flight, crops will be burnt or devoured by locusts and our rivers will run red with the blood of children and the disabled ... or not. I don't know.
Why is it so important that we raise the Debt Limit?
Don't ask me that. Everybody seems to have a different answer. There are plenty of answers to that question out there right now, so if you don't like what you hear, then just look for a different response.
Will our nation default on its loans if we don't rate the debt ceiling?
It doesn't have to. Basically, as long as the U.S. continues to pay the interest owed on our debt, we will never default. Even according to the most dire predictions, the federal government would still have enough money (from tax revenues) to make these payments on time.

Now that I've gotten the basics out of the way, everybody listen to Paul Ryan. He always knows what he's talking about:

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