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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Debt-Ceiling Scare Nonsense


The New York Times is at it again, pounding on Republicans for not quickly agreeing to raise the debt ceiling once again. In an editorial this week, the Times said that Republican extortionist and blackmail-like intransigence was endangering economic progress and threatening another economic debacle.

I told you this would happen. Just last year, when the debt ceiling was reached, statists were saying the same scary things that the Times is now saying about the debt ceiling. I told you that once the debt ceiling was raised in 2011, the statists would celebrate how their scare tactics once again pressured the Republican members of Congress into, once again, raising the debt ceiling.

I also said that once the ceiling was raised, the statists would not call for drastic spending cuts in anticipation of the new upcoming debt ceiling. Instead, they knew that once the new debt ceiling would be reached in a couple of years or so, they would be able to just trot out their old tried-and-true scare tactics, wrap them up in new package, and employ them again.

Now, please permit me to do it again. Now that the new debt ceiling is being reached, I predict that the Republicans will cave again, just as they did last time and just as they did every time before that. They will not be able to withstand the pressure that the New York Times and other liberal publications put on them.

And once they cave and raise the debt ceiling again, make no mistake about it: The Times and their ilk will once again celebrate the fact that the federal government can keep on spending and borrowing as much as it wants. At no point will the Times say, “Well, we got by this time but now the government needs to slash spending in anticipation of the new debt ceiling.” Instead, the Times and others of their ilk will just smile, knowing that their scare tactics will prove effective indefinitely into the future.

The debt ceiling is an implicit acknowledgement by the members of Congress that too much debt is a bad thing and can, in fact, be a very dangerous thing.

Just ask the people of Greece. Their government accumulated so much debt that it became a deadbeat, relegated to begging hard-pressed taxpayers of other countries, including the United States, to help subsidize their welfare state.

Or ask the people in all those American cities that are declaring bankruptcy. They’ll tell you about the hazards of too much debt.

Or ask any American family or business in bankruptcy court today. They’ll tell you the same thing.

But the Times just doesn’t get it. Even when a liberal gets mugged by reality, he continues to live in his la-la world, dreaming and fantasizing about how “growth and jobs” will bring happy days to the welfare-warfare state again.

Consider this piece of economic idiocy: The Times says that Republican delay in raising the 2011 debt-ceiling brought about a downgrade in the federal government’s credit rating.


Are they really serious? Do they really believe such nonsense? Credit ratings don’t get downgraded because there is a delay in permitting a debtor to accumulate more debt. Credit ratings get downgraded because the debtor is accumulating more mountains of debt.

What if Congress determines that enough is enough — that the federal government has already accumulated too much debt and that it will not be permitted to accumulate any more.

What does the Times say about that possibility? Amazingly, the Times suggests that President Obama should simply ignore the congressional law. He says that the president should just “cite the 14th Amendment’s ban on questioning the public debt, and declare an end to the debt ceiling once and for all.”

Hey, why not? If Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi can assume dictatorial powers by decree, why shouldn’t Obama be free to do the same thing? Anyway, the unrestrained power of a ruler to spend and borrow (and tax) the citizenry into bankruptcy certainly does pale in comparison to Obama’s dictatorial powers to declare war and to kidnap, torture, execute, and assassinate people without due process of law.

What really is going on here is the statists’ undying commitment to the welfare-warfare state way of life. Statists simply cannot come to grips with the fact that their beloved welfare-warfare state is coming apart at the seams.

Think about it: Every single welfare-warfare state program is in crisis or is a disaster. Social Security. Medicare. Medicaid. Federal spending. The dollar. The drug war. The war on immigrants. Public schooling. Iraq. Afghanistan. Foreign aid. The war on terrorism. Federal spending and the national debt.

Every one of them is an absolute mess. And the reason is not too much “free enterprise,” as statists have maintained ever since their statist icon Franklin Roosevelt employed that one to foist his socialist and fascist New Deal onto the American people. The reason is the abandonment of economic liberty and the embrace of the welfare-warfare state.

But hope springs eternal for the statist. If the federal government will just be permitted to borrow more money, just one more time, the welfare-warfare state will be saved. No cuts are necessary. All we need is “growth and jobs,” which means more taxpaying citizens to fund all those welfare-warfare programs.

What nonsense.

The battle is on for the heart and soul of America. If Americans continue to follow the statists, they had better be prepared for more crises, chaos, and catastrophes.

But there is another option: libertarianism. Join up with us libertarians to lead America and the world out of the statist morass. The welfare-warfare state way of life (including the drug war) has proven to be an unmitigated disaster. Not only is it founded on immoral principles, and not only does it severely infringe on the economic liberty of the American people, it is also now severely threatening the economic well-being of the American people with the out-of-control federal spending and debt needed to fund it. It’s time to acknowledge that. It’s time to dismantle, not reform, every single socialist, interventionist, and imperialist program and restore a genuinely free society and a constitutional republic to our land.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.