TAMPA, October 8, 2013 — Amidst breathless reporting by the media on the so-called “shutdown,” another supposed crisis looms. The federal government will reach its never-before-enforced debt ceiling on October 17. If Congress doesn’t both agree to raise the debt ceiling and appropriate money to pay the interest, the government would supposedly default on its debt.
Calling it a “ceiling” is a joke. It’s been raised 78 times since 1960. But some House Republican legislators have showed signs of digging in and doing whatever they can to keep the debt ceiling from being raised. This would render the government unable to borrow the approximately $1 trillion it needs to cover its revenue shortfalls. $1 trillion also happens to be roughly equivalent to all “discretionary” spending.
The other $2.5 trillion the government spent in 2012 was considered “mandatory spending.” Most of it goes to entitlements like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
House Republicans are expected to continue their quest to defund Obamacare during the debt ceiling fight. They’ve sent several “compromise” proposals to do so in return for passing a continuing resolution, including one to postpone Obamacare for one year. Obama and the Democrats have rejected them all, saying that postponing a law that’s already been duly passed and ruled on by SCOTUS is not a compromise.
So, here is a real compromise: Defund and postpone Obamacare for one year, accompanied by cutting total military spending to $498 billion. That would be $173 billion in cuts over 2012 spending levels, according to the White House budget report.