Just Gimmie Some (Fiscal) Truth

James Hamilton, a dismal scientist who teaches the dark art at University of California, San Diego, cuts through the noise and lays out the unvarnished truth on the needlessly convoluted and confused subject of red ink and spending in Washington:

Problem 1 is that the debt-ceiling vote has always been, and always will be, a political charade. The real decision is how much the government is going to spend on programs and how much it is going to collect in taxes. Once Congress has made those two decisions, if spending exceeds taxes, of course the government needs to borrow more. The idea of holding a separate vote on borrowing, as if it was a separate decision from spending and taxing, serves only one purpose — allow representatives from the minority party to grandstand as if they were actually doing something about the deficit.

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