A Price for Raising the Debt Ceiling

January 13, 2011 20:30

Republicans should attach provisions repealing the worst aspects of ObamaCare and financial reform to spending that the president absolutely needs.

Arthur B. Laffer at Wall Street Journal


They supported add-ons to the housing and farm bills in 2007 to stimulate the economy; Larry Summers’s $600 per-capita stimulus checks of 2008; the bailout of AIG, the Fed’s asset swaps with Bear Stearns; the $700 billion Toxic Asset Relief Program; Mr. Obama’s nearly $900 billion stimulus package; the total government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; the temporary cash-for-clunkers program; the $8,000 temporary home-buyers’ tax credit; the extension of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks; the Dodd-Frank financial reforms; and of course the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare).

Not only did Mr. Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid support all of the above government spending, they also voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006 when George W. Bush was president and the Republicans controlled the House and Senate.

Here’s what Mr. Obama said on the Senate floor then: “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

Mr. Reid gave a similar speech: “If my Republican friends believe that increasing our debt by almost $800 billion today and more than $3 trillion over the last five years is the right thing to do, they should be upfront about it. They should explain why they think more debt is good for the economy. . . . Democrats won’t be making arguments to support this legislation, which will weaken our country.”


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