Minor debt deal isn't much

2013-01-24T05:00:00Z Minor debt deal isn't muchWisconsin State Journal editorial madison.com
January 24, 2013 5:00 am  • 

The shred of good news Wednesday in Washington was that our nation won't default on its debt, at least not yet.

The Republican-run House passed a three-month suspension of a $16.4 trillion debt ceiling, calming worries for now that an impasse could badly hurt America's creditworthiness and economy.

The Democratic-controlled Senate quickly agreed to the temporary truce, as did President Barack Obama.

But it's just the latest in a series of piecemeal punts that can't go on for much longer.

Attached to Wednesday's stopgap measure is language to cut off the pay of either house if it fails to produce a budget by mid-April.

That's welcome. The Senate hasn't approved a formal budget in years.

If anything, additional triggers are needed to block paychecks for all the politicians — including Wisconsin's congressional delegation — who can't cooperate, meet deadlines and get things done.

The gridlock needs to end. Real solutions need to start.

The Republicans shouldn't be political playing games with the federal debt limit. As the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan watchdog group, has explained: The debt is from past policy decisions, and those obligations won't go away if we ignore them. They'll continue to accrue.

"Refusing to pay some or all of its bills would not be an act of fiscal responsibility," the group wrote in a news release. "It would be turning the federal government into a deadbeat."

At the same time, the Democrats need to get serious about restraining how fast spending goes up. The Democrats got their tax hike on the rich, and that won't come close to closing the gaping federal budget hole.

What's needed is a sweeping deal to control the soaring cost of entitlements and defense, while making smart investments in priorities to grow the economy, such as research and development.

Start doing your job, Washington. Avoiding the latest self-imposed calamity isn't close to being enough.

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(7) Comments

  1. concerned_citizen
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    concerned_citizen - January 24, 2013 10:34 pm
    cut spending on war

    close income tax loopholes
    especially on corporations like GE - who pay NO federal income taxes, even while getting billions of dollars in taxpayer contracts. lame.
  2. Dode-is-a-choad
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    Dode-is-a-choad - January 24, 2013 6:56 pm
    Marvelous!
  3. Dode
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    Dode - January 24, 2013 4:49 pm
    Oh, Present 0bama proposed a budget, but his incompetence was glaringly apparent when everyone laughed at it and voted against it. Our poor emperor!
  4. cedillon
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    cedillon - January 24, 2013 3:13 pm
    Given that money is being spent there is a de facto budget. It's been carried forward since the recession hit. Except for temporary "emergency" actions like the stimulus and adjustments to tax rates.

    Calls for a new budget in this low performing economy are essentially calls for austerity, given the recently made permanent lower tax rates. Not surprisingly the DEMs don't do austerity easily. Given they got the most votes, arguably the electorate backs them on that.
  5. scorp
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    scorp - January 24, 2013 3:01 pm
    The "punting' was quite appropriate because of the downward slide of the economy . With unemployment rising again ,the repubs know that after this punt they will be able to get the cuts necessary to stimulate the job creation. The dems blew this one big time! Finally ,the disaster of the failing economy will be tied around their neck.
  6. Shake
    Report Abuse
    Shake - January 24, 2013 1:27 pm
    Get over it. They ain't passing loser Ryan's granny-starving budget.
  7. Report Abuse
    - January 24, 2013 11:20 am
    How can Any entity, corp, or country be run effectively or efficiently without a budget to guide them? Budgets are a tool to show where you plan to spend your money. Where is money planned to be allocated and where should we not? it helps you ID and prioritize what is and isn't needed. The Democrats in the white house and Senate have not passed or even Proposed one in over 4 years. They have No plans for how to spend our money and no plan to come up with a plan. The republicans have gotten slammed in the press and by Obama for suggesting that spending cuts be a part of the debt ceiling talks. Barack says those discussions should be seperate, but the truth is that if they pass a higher debt limit, they will never get the Dems back to the table. .Obama and the Senate leaders have already proven over 4 years that tehy will not willingly participate in those talks or take any steps to cut spending. This forces them to create a budget and OWN the spending they plan to do. It forces them to ID every $$ in every program and at least examine where they are spending our $$.

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