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Opinion Letters Raise The Debt Ceiling - An Imperative First Step

From now through the presidential election of 2012, America will be conducting a dynamic debate regarding its future. Of primary concern will be issues regarding the size and scope of our federal government and at what levels our government would be responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of its people.

Deserving attention, and getting it, is whether again to increase the size of our national debt ceiling. In addition, debate is underway with regards to what principles and values we should incorporate in the consideration and approval of the 2012 Budget.

Because of serious and immediate implications, raising the debt ceiling by no later than July is imperative. If it is not raised, as it has been over seventy times since the 1950’s, the interest on funds America borrows to meet its responsibilities would rise from the current two percent level to as much as six percent, thereby forcing our Nation’s debt to balloon even higher.

With two war fronts, assistance in the Libyan rebellion, and an economic crisis on our home-front, America would be forced to default in meeting its obligations if it is prevented from the ability to borrow. Such a situation would further damage our ability to grow economically and to stimulate the creation of new jobs. It would severely impact international relations and our standing in the world.

Last week a number of Tea Party members of the House of Representatives stated that they will not vote for raising the debt ceiling “unless there is a real and meaningful reduction in spending”. While we, the Democrats of Macon County, can respect the Tea Party for standing for what they strongly believe, the time to fight for those values is during the forthcoming debate over the 2012 Budget, not the debt ceiling!

The passage of this legislation is crucial for America and for our individual pocketbooks. Without it we could see higher interest rates, impacting our local folk’s ability to acquire life’s necessities, start a small business, or even purchase a home. Our Nation’s dollar would be devalued; prices on imported goods, such as found at Wal-Mart and other large retailers, would be increased; and, we would see even higher prices at the pumps.

We cannot become bogged down in debate over additional or future cuts as riding amendments to this legislation. The impact of it’s not being passed within the designated period would be catastrophic.

We encourage, therefore, our Tea Party neighbors in Macon County, to join us in pushing for immediate passage of this important legislation. This is one time we need to work together! Then, later, we can earnestly debate our differences over the composition of our Nation’s 2012 Budget.

Ben J. Utley, Chairman
Macon County Democratic Party

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