Ron Paul: Stop Raising the Debt Ceiling

Date: 05/23/2011

by Ron Paul

The federal government once again has reached the limit of its legal ability to borrow money, meaning it cannot issue new Treasury debt without action by Congress to increase the debt ceiling limit. As of this month, our “official” national debt- which doesn’t include the staggering future payments promised to Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries- stands at $14.2 trillion.

The debt ceiling law, passed in 1917, enables Congress to place a statutory cap on the total amount of government debt rather than having to approve each individual Treasury bond offering. It also, however, forces Congress into an open and presumably somewhat shameful vote to approve more borrowing. If the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives gives in to establishment pressure by voting to increase the debt ceiling once again, you will know that the status quo has prevailed. You will know that the simple notion of balancing the budget, by limiting federal spending to federal revenue, remains a shallow and laughable campaign platitude.

It is predictable that Congress will once again merely delay the inevitable and raise the debt ceiling, after the usual rhetoric about controlling spending, making cuts, and yes, raising taxes. We have heard endless warnings about how irresponsible it would be to “shut down the government.” The implication is that sober, rational, mature pundits and politicians understand reality, while those who oppose raising the debt ceiling limit are reckless ideologues who will harm the economy just to make a point.

But like any debtor that has to reduce its spending, the federal government simply needs to establish priorities and stop spending money on anything other than those priorities. Interest payments on our federal bond debt likely will amount to about $500 billion for fiscal year 2011, an average of $41 billion per month. Federal tax revenues vary by month, but should total around $2 trillion to $2.5 trillion for FY 2011– an average of perhaps $180 billion per month. So clearly the federal government has sufficient tax revenue to make interest payments to our creditors. For now, those interest payments represent about 12% of the total federal budget.

What nobody wants to admit is this: even if the federal government has only $1.5 trillion remaining to spend in 2011 after interest payments, this is PLENTY to fund the constitutional functions of government. After all, the entire federal budget in 1990 was about $1 trillion. Does anyone seriously believe the federal government was too small or too frugal just 20 years ago? Hardly. So why have we allowed the federal budget to quadruple during those 20 years?

The truth is, in spite of how cataclysmic some might say it would be if we did not pass a new debt ceiling, it is hardly the catastrophe that has been advertised. The debt ceiling is a self-imposed limit on borrowing. The signal congress sends to worldwide markets by raising the debt ceiling is simple: business as usual will continue in Washington; no real spending cuts will be made; and fiscal austerity will remain a pipe dream.

When our creditors finally wise up and cut us off, we will be forced to face economic realities whether we want to or not. It would be easier to deal with the tough choices we face now, on our own terms, rather than wait until we are at the mercy of foreign creditors. However, leaders in Washington have no political will to admit that we cannot afford to continue spending without any meaningful limit. They prefer maintaining the illusion and putting off reality for another day.


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    I am glad that Ron Paul has proven himself to be politically consistent for a long time! Those that share his beliefs are consistent.

    The only problem that I have with Ron Paul’s solution, is that the authoritarians will also benefit and take credit.

    I worry that the Tea Party folks, or rather the substantial sub-group within that group that still supports the DEA thugs, and a strong department of war will still get their way, and take away everybody else’s freedom. They will give lip service to the libertarians. They cherry-pick the constitution in the same way that they cherry-pick the bible, and cherry-pick their science. They wil cherry-pick anything that Ron Paul says, if it makes them popular with their followers.

    Anybody who supports the DEA, or our foreign policy, but also is just now a Johnny-come-lately whining cry baby; only now complaining about their freedom taken away deserve to have 100% of their notes taxed away from them. Either that, or take away their religious freedom. Only then, will these authoritarian thugs know what it feels like when the shoe is on the other foot. It will become exactly equal, as far as freedom for us all goes.

    This sub-group would continue to take away freedom from people who have actually been trying to live free for a long time. Many have gone to jail over it. They tend to read the first sentences of the even-numbered Bill of Rights only, and forget the spirit of the great Declaration of Independence. It is not just my property or money, but it is my life an my brain that makes me free or not.

    Federal Reserve Notes are such a small sub-set of true freedom, although it is very important, because our wealth is the product of our labour. However, I consider my body to be worth quite a bit more than my personal wealth, at this point in my life. It took me 13.7 billion years to get here. In just 30 more years, I will be lucky if I am alive at 85. By then, science may advance, or be held back by those bronze-aged morralists. There is no telling what sort of laws authoritarians can invent in the future.

    As Ron Paul has said, freedom is a new idea. Well, so is science. Science is followed by all people, to a degree; but most cherry-pick at it. Some believe the earth is younger than the domestication of dogs, or the tree rings on some tree fossils. Light is constant, and some of it has taken billions of years to reach hear and catch the lense of the Hubble telescope, as another example.

    A free market is only free, if all people are permitted to trade. A sub-set of those in the Tea Party would continue to legislate away the hot dog stand in front of their precious resteraunt. They are anti-free-market at the local level. A good bunch of them support the military industrial complex as well – another pro-corporate-pro-group-rights, anti-free-market cartel that makes up a fairly large chunck of the overall corporate oligarchy. I have already indirectly mentioned how they throw a good number of their competiters in jail. Heaven forbid that someone should actually just grow a product in their back yard that can be used to manufacture paper, clothing, bio-degradable plastics, bio-fuels (maybe?), or grown in a different way to produce medicines or recreational drugs to compete with alcohol.

    Freedom is followed by most, to a degree; but most are only interested in an irrationally, selfish form; where authoritarian laws written against those who would dare have different lifestyles of their own, and dare to live as free people, are treated as animals, by brutes in uniforms who will laugh at them. They cherry-pick who gets to live their free lifestyles and who does not.

    The only problem that I have with Ron Paul’s solution, is that the authoritarians will also benefit and take credit. The group that wraps itself in a bloody flag, while carrying a bloody cross.

  • Lynn

    We shouldn’t allow our country go down the drain just to make a point for the political reasons or because of political ideology. And for those who fall in line with the right-wing Tea Party movement I suggest you read an article from Webster G. Tarpley titled “The US Constitution Makes Default Illegal: What a Real President Would Do on August 1, 2011.” We are talking about losing our credit rating around the world and sending the financial markets into the psycho zone. Not even Reagan allowed that to happen what makes Mr. Paul so different? Why would he be so cavalier about our nation going to the brink of financial disaster? The debt ceiling was raised during Reagan and Bush’s administration and every other administration. Why didn’t Ron Paul advocate this policy during the Bush administration instead of focusing on “ending the fed” so much? This is why I see this as a partisan war and I am sick of the wars of ideology at the expense of the American people. Why didn’t he vote against the war? Certainly we could have saved a Trillion! Lets not forget that it was George Bush who spent like a drunken sailor and started this insane path. This is about America, our future generations and a stable world in the end. We can’t take a chance to see our nation fail just to see a Republican in the White House in 2012. Americas should be embarrassed if we default and I am surprise that Mr. Paul is taking this it-could -be-a-good-thing if we fail stance as well as his flat tax ideology, which only benefits the rich. [I consider myself an independent who supported Mr. Paul in the past ]


    Ok this is the kind of stuff that we are going broke from…. Right now, this very minute (as of 12:00 central time), there legislation in the House, specifically H.R. 440 that is being pushed as “our” responsibility. They are trying to create a “special envoy”, essentially a government funded body of people, that WE, me and you will pay for, that will be stewards of religious freedom world wide. The purpose of this group is to ensure religious freedom for Central Asia, Egypt, Afganistan, Iraq (these were named specifically) and other FORIEGN countries. They have cited that it is “OUR” responsibility to protect religious freedom in these countries! This is NOT our job or place to deal with. It is the responsibility of those countries leaders and the people that put them there or refuse to rise up against their own style of government that prohibits those freedoms! It is a sad thing, horrible yes….but NOT OUR RESPONSIBILITY! It is not our job to send representatives and/or money to other countries to strong-arm them into creating, policing, and protecting THEIR CITIZENS rights, in THEIR countries.

    The Author of this bill was
    Frank Wolf, R-Virginia 10th Dist.;
    Supporters are listed as follows as they spoke-
    Anna Eshoo – D-California 14th Dist
    Christopher Smith – R-New Jersey 4th Dist
    Howard Berman – D-California 28th Dist
    Jan Schakowsky – D-Illinois 9th Dist
    Rober Dold – R-Illinois 10th Dist
    Gary Peters – D-Michigan 9th Dist
    Joseph Pitts – R-Pennsylvania 16th Dist
    Zeo Lofgren – D-California 16th Dist/ She wants to add Veitnam

    If these are your congressmen/women…You should know what they are trying to do!

    • I agree, we should not fund them. Freedom of religion is one thing, but freedom from religion is a higher priority. 100% of the countries where the religious take over the culture, they ruin the other freedoms that secular folks enjoy in their attempts to live free lives. The United States is milder than some, but the Christians still she be ashamed of themselves for pushing their morality into the arena of victimless crimes. I am glad that Ron Paul does not want to completely shove is bronze-aged religion down our collective throats.

  • Anyone who claims that either I am “A” or “B” is another example of irrational thinking, when A and B are not mutually exclusive, nor they come anywhere near to covering the entire possible space of “U”. There is no need to comment any further on those remarks.

  • In response to another remark: The idea of ownership of the air we breath goes back a long time. A group action law suit in England, during the industrial revolution resulted in the loss of that property, in favor of dirty industries, for the good of the whole, over the good of the individual. The courts felt that the benefits of the industrial revolution out-weighed individual rights.

    Rothbard, Rand and others have globbed onto this in their Objectivist and Libertarianism writings. Rothbard was an agnostic and Rand was a hard-core atheist. There logic was consistent and reason-based as opposed to basing beliefs on faith.

    Rand especially understood the importance in the “free will” premise in her theory. That is why she, and others would try to push reductionist science into the same camp as the Marxists. Reductionist materialism, is the reason we have GPS on our iPhones. The hypothesis, is that you can break down any system into its parts, and study the parts to learn about them. It has been the most succesful theory in the history of man. It is the reason we have germ theory. Something always causes something else.

    How does this all tie into the Fed? Well, if the entire premise has has a flawed hypothesis, then the entire system collapses. If both libertarianism and the FED are based on false hypothesis, then we should look at a different solution.
    There are no natural rights. You simply have to take them, otherwise they should be taken to be priveledges that can be taken away at anytime. We are the 5th ape (I will let you google the other 4). Some of us like our freedom, but there are many alpha-males out there with lots of money and power. Government will continue to grow until it collapses under its own weight.

    Live free or die, but stop whining about it.

  • Let me clarify a little. Sorry, I just noticed that some people responded to me.
    Ron Paul would be okay as a Treasury Secretary.

    faith-based thinking example: “Evolution is just a theory.” I don’t think it was the media that put those typical, Tea Party-sounding words in his mouth
    he mentioned that abortion is a crime and it is up to the states to decide the punishment, therefore he does not believe in the woman’s ownership of her own body. Google “Rothbard”. Google: Negative Rights

    The concept of “Natural Rights” and “Free Will” are just theorys, and they have much weaker legs to stand on than evolution does. Show me a rabbit fossile in the Cambrian. I will pay you as much cash as I can collect on selling my house for it, if you can prove it is real. There are plenty of ways to falsify a good scientific theory like Evolution By Natural Selection. Do I need to google it for Dr. Paul?

    You have to be willing to spend time in jail, if you have a true cause, otherwise you are just a whimp. I admire Dr. Paul for his consistent stance against the DEA, the FED and other areas.

    What worries me more, is the Tea Party whiners, who are just now starting to whine about Obama, as if freedom hasn’t already been taken away from us by many of their fenatically, religious viewpoints. They believe in reading the even-number rights only, and then only the first sentences, and skim over the documents by Jefferson, because he was not one of them – he was more of a diest – not bad thinking for a guy born well before Charles Darwin.

    On all Gore’s science – yes, Al Gore cherry-picks his science just like Tea Party, cherry-pick their books of faith. It has it’s good and it’s bad side. On the bad side, it turns them into hipocrites of the worst sort and enables them to use God as an excuse to take away freedoms from people they don’t like. They send DEA thugs into all the states (not just IRS thugs – that is all they care about).

    Yes, I am saying set up a barter system on the web and stop whining about the Federal Reserve Notes. Publisize every DEA agent and every IRS agent who has ever broken one rule. Tie them up in civil courts by sueing them personally. But honestly, the DEA is the worst of these, yet the whining Tea Party folks don’t care about other people’s lives, especially if they are no longer a fetus.

    The fact that 80% of American are essentially glorified zombie worshipers, and that the Tea Party members are a big part of the extreme end of that camp, reall worries me. Having someone like that in power is not a good idea. You never know when their faith will overpower their reason. Yes, Al Gore does the same thing. That is what politicians do.

    There are articles on climate change that you can read abut in Scientific American. Yes, they support funding for science, but they have really hit the biofuel industry with hard facts. There are several articles on the validity of the Climate Change science.

    My thing is this. I had to live under this DEA thug regime all of my life. To be free, I had to follow what I thought was right. Now that the Christian right’s precious Federal Reserve Notes are being threatened. Many of these people are responsible for continuing with the corporate oligarchy too, because many of them are business owners in the Malls and elsewhere. These people get lobbyists at the local, state and Federal level to pass regulations so that a poor guy who knows how to cook a hotdog, can’t put up a stand on the sidewalk in front of the Mall. So many of these people are anti-free-market, pro-corporate group rights when it comes to their own businesses. Profit, not freedom is their ownly motive. Don’t whine to the government about it, if you cannot do the right thing for others yourself. The government was put into place to protect individual rights, but the Tea Party just whines about it, while doing something completely different.

    Yes, Ron Paul has been consistent for a long time now. He is kind of old, and I see him listening more and more to the tea party. It’s a mute point anyway, since I live in California. It’s a blue state and Ron Paul will never be on the ticket.

  • You belong in an enclosed room, on your own, with no audience. First off please have someone proofread and translate your work on your behalf. Secondly, keep your bigoted mind to yourself. Go peddly your Jew-hate to your dumb radical friends and not on unrelated youTube pages in a shall attempt to find an audience.

  • Cut military expenses is a more real stuff. Focus on what Americans own now through innovations, not through Jewish languages of ownership. We don’t have ownership on breathing air, don’t foolishly trying to like those ancient Jewish philosophers. Their sick wishes dug graves for their own population and collapsed their own countries many times already because even Jews themselves can’t survive within their own sick old languages and thoughts.

  • beancube2010

    Cut military expenses is a more real stuff. Focus on what Americans own now through innovations, not through Jewish languages of ownership. We don’t have ownership on breathing air, don’t foolishly trying to like those ancient Jewish philosophers. Their sick wishes dug graves for their own population and collapsed their own countries many times already because even Jews themselves can’t survive within their own sick old languages and thoughts.