Monday, February 21, 2011

America's Credit Card: The Battle

The eyes of the Republican blogosphere are concentrated on Wisconsin these days, as the public employee unions and Democratic senators are lashing out in a desperate and futile attempt to defend the status quo of unsustainable state debt. But despite the mediagenic circus of shut-down public schools, doctors dispersing fraudulent sick notes and teachers waving misspelled signs, the battle between the unions and Republican Gov. Scott Walker is not one that demands reinforcement from either the blogosphere or the tea party.

The focus of the fiscally prudent should be on Washington, not Wisconsin. This is because the outcome in Madison is assured, whereas the one in the national capital is not. While both situations are unsustainable, Wisconsin has already reached the outer limits of its debt expansion. The federal government has not. Wisconsin's limits are externally imposed, whereas Washington's are not, at least, not in the near term.

This means that Gov. Walker and the Republicans cannot give in, as Republicans have usually done in the past, because the spending cuts have to come from somewhere. Since the salaries and pensions of the state-funded workers are one of the largest and most publicly offensive portions of the state budget, it is arguably the easiest and most politically viable areas for Wisconsin Republicans to target.

In Washington, on the other hand, the congressional ability to increase the statutory debt limit from $14.3 trillion means that nothing but the will of the Republican House majority stands in the way of more reckless spending on the part of the Obama administration and the Democratic Senate. Raising the debt limit will accomplish nothing of any benefit to the nation, as is obvious from the fact that it was raised to $14.3 trillion from $12.4 trillion only 13 months ago.

Read more: Vox Day: Battle for America's credit card

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