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Republicans defeat own debt limit proposal as economy suffers

A vote in the US House of Representatives ended without raising the US debt ceiling. Republicans voted down their own proposal for a $2.4 trillion increase to the debt limit.

The vote failed with 318 votes against and just 97 in favor.

House Democrats have accused Republicans of playing politics on an issue of vital economic importance, while Republicans contend they are doing what they feel the voters want.

"I consider defeating an unconditional increase to be a success, because it sends a clear and critical message that the Congress has finally recognized we must immediately begin to rein in America's affection for deficit spending,” said Republican Congressman Dave Camp.

Democratic Congressman Sander Levin called the Republicans’ self-defeat a “ploy so egregious that [they] have had to spend the last week pleading with Wall Street not to take it seriously and risk our economic recovery."

Seton Motley, the president of Less Government argued that the debt ceiling does not need to be raised; the rejection by House Republicans of the proposal is more than politics. The Republicans refuse to raise the ceiling for good reason.

“[It] doesn’t need to be raised,” he firmly stated.

Dr. Caroline Heldman from Occidental College disagreed. She said the ceiling must be raised, and in previous years it the Republicans frequently did so.

Motley argued that keeping the limit where it is and cutting other expenditures is a wiser move. He contended that there is far too much waste in the government and that given tax revenue and cuts, the ceiling does not need to be raised.

“You can not raise the debt ceiling a penny and still pay our debtors because the IRS continues to collect revenue regardless of whether or not we raise the debt ceiling,” he said.

The government spends too much money,” he added. “There’s nine million programs that are stupid, wasteful, abusive and demonstrably ineffective.”

Motley said cuts need to be made to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other social programs – but not military defense. He contended that government funds should only be spent on things specified as federal responsibilities in the US constitution – namely national security.

However, there are areas that should not be cut due to structural deficit problems. The limit must be raised in cadence with some cuts, argued Heldman.

She alleged that the bulk of the current deficit problem comes from cuts to taxes under George W. Bush and spending on the US military and foreign wars – not because of social programs.

We can’t go in with this big sword and start cutting things that didn’t actually cause the problems,” Heldman said.

Motley pointed out however that US President Barack Obama’s debt far exceeds Bush’s because of bailouts, government stimulus programs and social programs.

The government is to blame, he contended. As government expands the private secret shrinks. The government needs to cut and shrink to aid the economy and help the American people, Motley argued. Cuts need to be made to entitlements – namely Medicaid and Medicare.

The government is in the way,” he said. “Government spending demonstrably damages private sector recovery.”

The more the government spends and regulates, the more damages it does, Motley held. The system is causing the problem, not helping.

Heldman contended that government spending saved Wall Street and helpd to increase growth in the nation’s wealth. Government spending helped, it did not hinder. It prevented a second Great Depression, she argued.

“Corporations are stockpiling trillions of dollars,” she said. “Corporations are doing so well at the exact same time that the government is spending all of this money.”

We have never seen this sort of recovery,” she added.

Motley pointed out that Wall Street growth is not the same as measuring the whole of the economy, he said that Main Street continues to suffer and that Wall Street has only recovered because they were artificially propped up the US governed – not because they created wealth in the market. Corporations made profits because they were saved by the government, yet the corporations and government have failed to increase the economic wellbeing of average Americans.

Wall Street not Main Street,” he reiterated.