GOP should end its bluffing on debt limit

February 7, 2013 

Republicans in Congress are at it again, resisting or dismissing President Obama’s responsible push for modest spending cuts and the closing of tax loopholes for business and the wealthy in order to avoid what would be devastating across-the-board spending cuts after March 1. Why then? Because that was a deadline connected to the raising of the nation’s debt ceiling.

Though the debt ceiling has been routinely raised under Republican and Democratic presidents, Republican leaders in Congress have chosen to play a never-ending game of budget chicken with the issue since President Obama has been in office. Every time the ceiling needs to be raised, Republicans threaten not to do it, even though a default would damage the nation’s credit rating and could put the economy back into a recession.

Then, perhaps after consulting with their Wall Street allies, Republicans make a deal with the president that prevents those consequences, but only until the next debt ceiling deadline rolls around. This game makes the economy nervous.

The truth is that President Obama does need to be more serious about spending cuts. The truth also is that Republicans talk about that, too, but they don’t want their own favored programs cut.

And so here we go again. The president proposes something to avoid automatic cuts. Republicans threaten to deny it. Then they weaken behind the scenes. Then they make a deal.

How about this time we skip the game, and have serious talks, bipartisan talks, about tax loopholes and spending cuts that will last a while and for a change, avoid and not create confrontation?

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