We Won't Raise the Debt Ceiling But We'll Spend More Money

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 21 2011 10:47 AM

We Won't Raise the Debt Ceiling But We'll Spend More Money

Matt Miller nearly goes insane trying to figure out why Republicans are demanding concessions for a debt ceiling vote and saying it should not be raised again, because their own conservative budget projects $6 trillion in new debt.

If I were Barack Obama, my mantra on this week’s debt tour and in the months ahead would be that we should lift the debt limit only by as much debt as is needed to accommodate Paul Ryan’s budget . The president and his team should say this every time they’re asked about the debt limit until people can’t stand hearing it any more. All I know is somebody better start saying this soon or I may be forced to do something desperate.

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One question I'm hearing some liberal pundits raise right now is "Why is the debt ceiling brinksmanship so one-sided?" When Republicans say they demand a balanced budget amendment in exchange for a vote, why don't Democrats say they demand tax hikes? Occam's Razor, based on my conversations with the Democrats who are demanding a "clean vote" -- they know that the current understanding of the debt ceiling is a massive problem. A FreedomWorks poll of swing state voters, which I cited in

, had 69 percent of voters opposing a debt ceiling increase for any reason. They hear "debt," they wince. And Democrats are partly responsible for this, because they campaigned against debt ceiling hikes in the past, when debt was being added to pay for the Iraq War. But neither party has a long-term interest in voters punishing all debt ceiling votes -- they're going to happen anyway!


David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.