The Debt Ceiling – Should It Be Raised?

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Air Date: August 1, 2011

Host: Vic Eliason

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It is almost impossible to realize just how huge the federal debt is, totaling trillions of dollars. Most of us are used to dealing in amounts of hundreds or perhaps thousands of dollars in household budgets, and up to the millions of dollars in most local or county budgets. State budgets reach into the billions, but all are tiny compared to the federal budget figures.

The current “deal” announced by Barack Obama and congressional leaders over the weekend would increase the federal debt limit by 1.9 trillion dollars. It would be the largest such increase ever, with the next largest increase two years ago—both on the watch of Barack Obama’s administration. The previous record was in the billions of dollars, under George W. Bush shortly after 9-11.

The deal is based on cutting some spending immediately, and Congress being required to cut more spending before Christmas. But despite the rhetoric, not everyone is happy with the outcome. Some Democrats say Obama “caved” on his insistence that there be added revenues. Some “Tea Party” representatives say not enough spending cuts were included. Some on both sides intend to vote against the plan, and at least one senator plans to filibuster the debate.

Financial experts warn of dire results to our economy should the limit not be increased. Some say it is too late, and America’s credit rating will be lowered, causing interest rates to rise and any recovery to fizzle and perhaps turn into another deep recession or worse.

Should the debt ceiling be raised? Or should the government be required to stop increases in spending and begin to trim its budget so the outgo is no greater than the income? Listeners called with their opinions.

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