Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Opinion | Avoiding future debt ceiling debates

Opinion | Avoiding future debt ceiling debates

Regarding Eugene Robinson’s May 30 op-ed, “Washington completes its most idiotic ritual”:

As the debt ceiling “crisis” has played out, it has become clear that Republican representatives are treating the nation to their version of “performative politics.” This manufactured crisis has captured the attention of the news media and, by extension, the rest of the nation, providing the perfect platform for the most extreme members of the House Freedom Caucus to appear on every network and raise campaign cash. The media has manufactured more bait for its audience by speculating that some of these House Republicans will push Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) out of his post in the aftermath.

That is not the plan. He is the ringleader of this theater, creating the opportunity for his MAGA wing to parade opposition before the base, with no intention of following through on forcing a “debt crisis.”

Unfortunately, this sham appears to be completely successful. Members of the Freedom Caucus have become heroes to their voters and have pushed President Biden into the media shadows. The negotiations between the White House and Mr. McCarthy have set a terrible precedent, placing future debt ceiling legislation at risk of more melodrama. As Mr. Robinson opined, the nation should eliminate the debt ceiling.

William C. McCauley, Charlottesville

Here’s a wild and crazy idea — a way to deal with debt ceilings going forward. Currently, the debt limit is a stand-alone number, a separate piece of legislation independent of how much money has been authorized and spent. So we’ve gotten into a situation where we’ve authorized more spending than revenue we’ve taken in, and can’t borrow enough to cover the bills we’ve already run up without exceeding the debt limit.

How about if every bill that spends money — budgets, appropriations, off-budget allocations (such as special aid to Ukraine or after a hurricane, etc.) has to include a projection of its effect on the debt, a corresponding adjustment to the debt limit and specifications of where spending reductions must occur (and by how much) if actual revenue is less than was assumed in the spending bill’s projections?

No more running up debts we might not be able to pay without Congress raising the limit.

Bruce Reaves, Gibsonville, N.C.

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