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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Obama and Chicken Little -- Editorial, The Washington Times

‘End of the world’ chest-beating distracts from debt’s deepest dangers 

By insisting on the impossibility of disagreement, the president cheapens his position. He seeks political advantage by spooking the financial markets with hyperbole. The reality is that the $16 trillion private economy is far more resilient than the arbitrary government deadline suggests. If Congress and the White House remain in a standoff next week, and the president doesn't get his way, Gramps and Granny will continue to get their Social Security check — if the administration chooses to send it. The Treasury has ample reserves to cover it.

The math is simple. The federal government expects to collect $2.8 trillion this year from taxes. Debt service for fiscal 2013, according to the Treasury Department, amounts to just over $415 billion. The October interest payment is a relatively modest $13 billion, a consequence of the current near-zero interest rate set by the Federal Reserve. As long as these interest payments are made, the loans are in good standing. The nation is not in default. If the administration does nothing, the earliest the federal government could miss an interest payment would be Nov. 15. The soonest Social Security payments could be disrupted is Nov. 1.

That only happens if the Obama administration deliberately chooses to make it happen. The federal government has the legal discretion to arrange the order of its payments. The Social Security Trust Fund can be used to make sure the checks are in the mail. The government even has the last resort, available to every family: the garage sale. Putting $2 trillion in assets on the auction block is extreme, but the government has accumulated far too much real estate, anyway, particularly in the West. It would be a good thing, for one example, for the federal government to sell the 80 percent of Nevada it owns to private buyers.

The debt-ceiling debate, or what would be a debate if Mr. Obama gets over his pout and begins to talk to the Republicans, is kabuki theater meant to distract from the real problem, Washington's spending addiction. Raising the debt ceiling through a "clean" continuing resolution would be as irresponsible as laying in a steady supply of clean needles and smack for a dope addict.

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