Outrageous. The IRS was asking a religious non-profit about the substance of its prayers. Outrageous. A Christian mentoring organization was asked about the specific backgrounds of the students it mentors. Outrageous. (Do Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or Bill Barber get scrutinized like this? Hell, NO. )
While members of Congress got lots of great face-time on the mainstream media — verbally abusing the IRS — the administration quietly sunk our nation deeper into debt:
On May 19, the United States hit its debt ceiling after adding $300 billion in more debt since lawmakers suspended the ceiling in February.
But the cash won’t run dry until at least Labor Day, according to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, whose department can employ a variety of cash management tools to continue spending beyond the official debt deadline.
Congress last hit the debt ceiling in January. The President and Congress then decided to “suspend” the debt limit through May 18. This is the first time that lawmakers adopted a debt ceiling date instead of a dollar amount. The Congressional Budget Office explains:
On May 19, the debt limit will be raised to its previous value—$16.394 trillion—plus the amount of borrowing that occurred while the limit was suspended (that is, from early February to May 18).
In other words, the President and Congress decided in February that they would continue borrowing through May 18, with the new debt limit becoming the then-current limit of $16.394 trillion plus whatever was added on since then. Washington racked up $300 billion in more debt in less than four months, making the current limit $16.7 trillion.
This is the pattern of recurrent budget negotiation crises:
- Spend some more;
- Run up against the debt ceiling;
- Resort to “extraordinary measures” to ward off a possible default for a while; and finally,
- Settle for inadequate measures that fail to curb soaring debt in the future.
As the failed super committee negotiations (which resulted in the all-around-hated sequestration) demonstrated, lawmakers need to put in law real policy changes to the entitlement programs, and not push off tough decisions to a new committee that’s doomed to fail from the get-go.
Our nation is on a dangerous fiscal course, and the debt ceiling is lawmakers’ opportunity to grab the oars and steer us out of the coming debt storm.
The IRS scandal demonstrates the propensity for big government to harrass, and violate the rights of, average Americans. We still haven’t figured out what exactly was going on in Benghazi. One thing we have learned from that affair is that its a 50-50 proposition whether our government will come to the defense of Americans under fire by foreign hostiles.
The whole debt thing — if serious action is not taken — will bring our nation down. It doesn’t need to be swept off the stage. It needs to be front and center. It needs to be dealt with NOW.