Right now, most liberals support raising the debt ceiling along with raising taxes, moderates and common sense conservatives say to raise the debt ceiling but to require spending cuts, and Tea Partiers say to not raise the debt ceiling.
Although I understand the Tea Party position, I disagree with it. As a Christian, I have a moral issue with not giving what we have promised. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of the entitlement programs that we have now, but we cannot just end them right now. We must phase those out. We have promised people that they will be given a certain amount, and it would be unjust to stop providing what was promised with no advance notice.
I fall in with the moderate and common sense conservative approach. We need to raise the debt ceiling now. The only results of not doing this are immoral, in my opinion.
Now, before I get into why we need to raise it, I want to explain exactly what the debt ceiling is. The debt ceiling is NOT the equivalent of a credit limit. A credit limit is imposed on you by a credit company. The debt ceiling is a self-imposed limit on what you will borrow. Here is an example: You have a credit card with, let’s say, a $25,000 credit limit. So, you cannot be in debt more than $25,000 on that card. The debt ceiling is equivalent to saying you won’t borrow more than $10,000. You can borrow more, but you won’t let yourself.
Congress has said that they won’t let themselves borrow more than a certain amount. Now, they are realizing that in order to pay their expenses, they need to borrow more than they wanted. So, they are planning on raising the maximum amount that they will let themselves borrow.
Now that we know what the debt ceiling is, why should we raise it? We have promised a certain amount of outlays; Social Security, welfare, defense, etc. Whether you think they are good or not, you cannot just stop giving them the money you promised with no advance warning.
First, Social Security. We cannot cut it for seniors. I favor a gradual repeal that allows people to stop paying into it, and not receive the benefits, but to keep giving the benefits to those who have paid into the program. They have paid into the program, and are relying on the funds they were promised. It is immoral, unjust, and frankly, not Christ-like to cut those funds.
Second, welfare. I am not a supporter of the current welfare system. It needs to be majorly reformed. However, we CANNOT cut that funding right away. The government has promised these funds to people. It is unjust to take it away, without giving them enough time to get other funding in place. I support phasing out the welfare programs, but you must phase them out. You can say that welfare will be ending on a certain date, but that should be at least 3-6 months down the road. That way, people can get other funding in place before the welfare checks stop.
Yes, we need to get spending under control. However, we cannot simply cut trillions today. We must cut spending, but it has to be through sunset clauses so it ends down the road, with enough time for people and organizations to find other sources of funding.
So, we need to raise the debt ceiling now, but any attempt to do so must be accompanied with spending cuts that take place down the road 3-6 months. And then continue to cut spending over time until we get to the point where we can have a balanced budget. But that will take time unless we want to raise taxes; which, I hope, we can all agree is a bad idea.
By Glenn Bertsch