Do Not Increase Debt Limit

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From bailouts of failed businesses and banks on Wall Street, to massive deficit spending to "stimulate" the demand for consumer spending, to borrowing and printing money to pay for it all, big government politicians in Washington have brought our country to the edge of financial ruin. Now these same politicians demand that we give them the authority to borrow more money by raising the debt limit.

The new Tea Party-infused 112th Congress must stand firm and demand that our elected officials hold the line on more borrowing by voting against an increase in the debt limit. This will be no small task because the President and his Democratic allies in the Congress and many other political leaders will argue that the only choice we have is to increase the debt limit to prevent financial disaster. Should we believe them? No.

It is the big government politicians who have pushed our country to the edge of financial ruin. They created the Great Recession with their misguided fiscal, monetary, regulatory and foreign policies and the massive borrowing and spending to pay for it all. They created the massive budget deficits and national debt. Yet they think the American people should listen to them. I disagree. There is another way out of the mess they made.

Cut spending now. The government will not default on its obligations if it cuts enough spending in non-essential programs and services now so that it can make its debt payments on time. That is what families and businesses do when they have insufficient current income to pay current expenditures. There is no reason the government cannot do the same. There is nothing but the lack of will that is stopping the Congress from cutting spending now.

Instead of cutting spending now our big government politicians want to take the easy way out for them – by having the taxpayers borrow more money for them to spend. But, when the government borrows its way out of present financial difficulty it defers the problem to another day and adds to the burden of the taxpayers. It is the taxpayers who have to repay all of this debt.

Our big government politicians will be fine. They will be well off with their large salaries and pensions that are immune from economic downturns, depressions or recessions. They have no worries. It is we the taxpayers living out here in the real world who have to provide for ourselves and our families and pay the massive bills run up by our elected officials.

Because of all of this massive government spending, the nation is on the edge of financial ruin. The national debt is $14 trillion. That is approaching $50,000 of debt for every American. If we count the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare the national debt approaches $100 trillion. The tax increases it would take to pay off this debt would be staggering and would cause financial ruin to the country and the loss of financial freedom to the taxpayers.

Our Founding Fathers warned us about the dangers of running large and perpetual national debts. They understood that this would result in the loss of our freedom because taxpayers would have to spend much of their lives working to pay off the debt. Thomas Jefferson said, "We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude." But, our Founding Fathers are not around anymore and their words and warnings have been ignored by too many of our current leaders. That is why we the taxpayers must speak out and step up and demand that our leaders choose economy and liberty.

That President Obama is asking Congress for an increase in the debt limit is a sign of his failure to lead. In 2006, then Senator Obama opposed an increase in the debt limit saying, "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure." Then Senator Obama correctly pointed out that, "Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better." I agree. The American people deserve better leadership than President Obama is providing.

President Obama’s failure to lead on this issue is not unexpected. More worrisome to me is that some Republican leaders in Congress are already conceding the issue of raising the debt limit in exchange for vague assertions of future spending cuts. That is the wrong approach. Instead the Republican leadership should take the position that they will not increase the debt limit period and will instead immediately cut spending to prevent a default. The Republican leadership should use the debt limit to compel not bargain for spending cuts.

Now is the time to draw a line in the sand. We must tell our members of Congress to vote no on the increase in the debt limit, to hold the line and to make the tough choices we elected them to make. We must tell them to cut spending now, do not default on our debts, stop shifting massive amounts of debt onto the shoulders of our children and grandchildren – and put our country back on the path to prosperity. After all that is what we pay them to do.

Marc A. Scaringi is a lawyer and owner of Scaringi & Scaringi, P.C. a Harrisburg-based law firm and is a candidate for the Republican nomination to the United States Senate in 2012.