Thursday, July 21, 2011

Marron’s Last Word on the Debt Limit

The very best take on the debt ceiling debate came in the July 18 issue of Christian Science Monitor in a contribution written by Donald Marron, Director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. The story is here. Marron points at the obvious—and no one even mentions it. It is that Congress passes all the laws (including those that require expenditures), appropriates all the money, and has the last word on what revenues will be collected. As Marron puts it, summing up the matter:

When Congress decides how much to spend and how much to tax, it is also deciding how much to borrow.
By seeing the debt limit as a separate something—separate from all of the actions that make borrowing necessary by the Executive, an Executive who has sworn faithfully to execute the laws passed by Congress—Congress can pretend that its left hand doesn’t know what its right hand has already done. Thus it can vote for everything it likes—and look good in the eyes of its constituency—and then vote against raising the debt limit—and look good in the eyes of other elements of its constituency.

Thanks for that reminder Donald!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this fine bit of frsh air.
    With all the media jabbering about dent 24/7, one still finds the best things right next door.