This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. — From FDR’s First Inaugural Address
From Tom Reed’s February 17, 2014 Press Release:
Rep. Tom Reed today highlighted Congress’ recent failure to hold the line on the national debt and in turn, the interest payment on the debt which is set to quadruple within the decade. Reed opposed the clean debt limit increase Congress passed last week, saying a glance at the country’s interest payment on debt alone is enough to crush the next generation.
Here Tom uses fear of debt to get what he wants: further cuts to the social safety net. Interest on the debt threatens to “crush the next generation” only if regressive economic policies that Tom favors deny future citizens health, education, and economic opportunity.
“Raising the debt ceiling without any reductions or reforms simply increases spending and increases our debt – irresponsible moves I cannot support. Maintaining the status quo with business as usual in Washington is not fair to the next generation and does nothing to address the crisis that is our enormous debt.”
Raising the debt ceiling doesn’t increase our debt — it simply allows the Treasury to pay debt already incurred. Tom is blowing smoke again. Tom knows that the answer to the deficit and growing debt is economic recovery, yet he and his fellow Republicans do all they can to keep the economy from expanding.
Reed highlighted a recent report from the non-partisan CBO projecting the interest payment on the national debt will nearly quadruple in the next ten years – to $880 billion by 2024.
The CBO report cited is a 180 page document full of detail. Here Tom picks one thing out of context to frighten us with. The report states: “Under CBO’s baseline assumptions, net interest costs are projected to nearly quadruple from 2014 through 2024 from $233 billion in 2014 to $880 billion in 2024.” Of course this doesn’t have to happen, it may not happen, and slashing needed programs that Tom dislikes isn’t the only way rising interest on the national debt might be addressed.
“To put it into perspective,” Reed said, “the country spent about $670 billion on defense in 2012 and roughly $768 billion on all of Social Security in the same year. Where is the money going to come from to pay for those lifeline programs if we are spending $880 billion just on the interest payment for our debt?” Reed continued, “It is either going to come from the gutting of critical federal programs such as these or unimaginable tax increases on every American, either of which would destroy America as we know it. Because I care too much to let this happen, we must change the status quo of Washington DC and solve the problem now. Waiting until the last minute doesn’t make the problem go away, it only makes it worse.”
Buried in the above we read “gutting of critical federal programs … or unimaginable tax increases on every American, either of which would destroy America as we know it.” Here Tom frightens us with a false dichotomy. Unimaginable tax increases on every American?” Unimaginable to Tom who hates taxes, perhaps. “Gutting of critical federal programs?” We would allow that only if we lacked the will to maintain them.
Prior to last week’s debt ceiling vote, Reed said he would be part of even “baby steps” toward reducing Washington spending and the debt. Reed says he went to Washington to change the status quo and get the debt under control and that a bill that fails to make any progress is a non-deal for him. “What I hear from those who advocate we don’t do anything and allow the debt to increase is that they are content to not make the hard decisions now but rather do what is easy so their reelection is not jeopardized. That’s not my approach because I’m not willing to jeopardize the future of the next generation for personal reelection interest. Enough is enough. It is time to lead.”
While other politicians are irresponsible and act for personal advantage rather than in the public interest, Tom has no concern but to “promote the general welfare” — who knew?
As Ray Copson noted in the article cited below, the real threat to our children isn’t paper debt that Tom Reed so greatly fears, but “the failure of government to invest adequately in vital sectors of the civilian economy that promote long-term growth and development.”
© William Hungerford – February 2014