Action, not antics, needed on debt ceiling

Right now our country seems to be at an impasse — Congress must act on the debt ceiling issue before Aug. 2, but solutions are few and progress slow.

We have no one but ourselves to blame. It’s a problem that we have seen coming for some time now, yet our politicians didn’t want to touch it as evidenced by the fact that the debt limit has been increased 10 times since 2001.

Last year, we ran a $1.29 trillion deficit and now sit with total national debt of $14.3 trillion, a ceiling that was set in 2010. As a nation, we now borrow more than 40 cents of each dollar we spend.

If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, the federal government would need to start choosing what to fund and what not to fund and might also delay interest payments on Treasury bonds.

A federal default could put us on the path to financial panic, leading to a weakening of the nation’s credit rating, slashing the value of the dollar and stymie the already crawling national economy.

Although some on both sides of the partisan divide will argue different points to the consequences of not raising the ceiling, there are obviously going to be consequences, the extent of which no one is really certain.

Yet, legislators seem to want to keep playing politics in Washington D.C. despite this fact. Frankly it’s nothing new and that’s what makes it so disgusting.

Both sides are holding out for a deal that best meets their ideals, what they promised voters or what best accommodates their egos. They seem to be missing the big picture.

We need less bickering and more compromise. We need less delayed voting sessions and more action. Something must be done. It hasn’t been done yet and perhaps it will never be, but our representatives need to wake up, break down the walls that have existed in politics for decades that have landed us in this situation and fix the problem.

Certainly we can’t speak to the minor details of what’s been proposed, but it’s clear we should only raise the debt if we also make certain we start living within our means. We can’t keep borrowing, especially at the rate of 40 cents of each dollar.

There is, however, a silver lining to the issue — it has brought to light an issue many would rather turn a blind eye to.

It shows just how irresponsible our legislators have been in managing our nation’s finances. We share part of the blame, too, because we elected them into office.

Also, what is the point of having a debt ceiling if we keep raising it only to promise that next year will be when we finally live within our means?

It is time for all Americans to bite the bullet now instead of letting the ballooning continue. Our shoulders can only carry so much and the load is already burdensome.

The solution is complex, but it certainly will involve both tax increases and cuts to the federal government. But the details can’t be ironed out until our politicians quit playing games.

In short: Our legislators need to start thinking past the next election cycle, stifle the partisan antics, compromise and find a reasonable solution to the debt ceiling issue keeping in mind the way we have lived for some time — borrowing without fear of consequences — can no longer continue.

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