President Obama continues to enlighten me about economics. The other day he gave a speech to the Business Roundtable in which he offered this gem:
Raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy.
As puzzled expressions began popping up in his audience of successful businessmen who know a thing or two about profligacy, he clarified thusly:
The average person thinks raising the debt ceiling must mean that we’re running up our debt.
Count me among the average. Let’s see, the only thing in either of these quotes that happens to be true is the statement that the debt ceiling has in fact been raised by Congress “hundreds of times.” Unfortunately for the President, each of those hundred times has resulted in an increase of our debt. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s what is known as a 100% correlation. Matter of fact, it would seem that from an historical perspective, if one wants to increase our national debt, the quickest, surest way to do so would be first to raise the debt ceiling! What could the President possibly be thinking? Since I refuse to accuse my President of an intentional, deliberate lie, I chose to believe that he is simply delusional. For example:
Let’s say that you were issued a credit card from Capital One with a $5000 credit limit. Then you promptly went out and racked up $5000 in purchases. Although you would be within your rights to do so, the credit card would now be unusable. What to do? Well, you could begin to pay down the card over time, and each time you did, it would restore a portion of your credit. But there would be another option. You could petition Capital One for an increase to your credit line. If they granted your request by doubling your credit line to $10,000, I suppose that technically that would not be increasing your debt, just your credit. One assumes that this is the President’s line of flimsy reasoning. But we all know what happens next. Since you now have access to $5000 more dollars worth of credit, you will find a way to blow through it as sure as night follows day. When the President looks back at our fiscal history, he sees the same fact, that every single time our national debt ceiling has been raised it has also been breached, every single time.
Yes, we average people who suspect that when our debt ceiling gets raised that will mean more debt, suspect as much for an excellent reason, Mr. President. But what do we know? We live in the real world where if we don’t make our car payments, someone comes and tows it away. The elites in Washington just raise the debt ceiling.
Help me out here, am I missing something?