One part of the fiscal cliff

One part of the fiscal cliff is the US Government is again running up against its debt ceiling. That is, it is getting near the limit Congress has set for how much debt the government can issue to fund its overspending.

The debt ceiling was raised just last year.

In case you didn’t know, Obama’s gigantic flip-flop on this issue is well-documented, but not well-reported.

Then Senator Barack Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006 and spoke against it. Here’s the text from his speech (source):

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

Strong words. I agree with some of them. Especially the part about shifting the burden of bad choices (i.e. uncontrolled spending) onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.

President Barack Obama now calls his 2006 position a mistake (source). As his press secretary explained:

He realizes now that raising the debt ceiling is so important to the health of this economy and the global economy that it is not a vote that, even when you are protesting an administration’s policies, you can play around with, and you need to take very seriously the need to raise the debt limit so that the full faith and credit of the United States government is maintained around the globe.

Did you know about this? Imagine if a Republican had the same flip-flop. Do you think you would know about that?

Debt Junkie

I heard a sound-bite from President Obama on the radio this morning explaining how not getting rid of the debt limit is irresponsible because we shouldn’t put government in the position to default on its obligations.

A simple question that any news reporter should ask:

Mr. President, Wouldn’t it be correct to say that it’s government spending that has put the government in that “irresponsible” position?

Follow-up question: Wouldn’t it be irresponsible to continue borrowing to spend?

By the way, government debt is $15 trillion, which is 3 times the $5 trillion debt in place with W. took office and more than 50% higher than the $9 trillion when Obama took office.