Kicking the debt can on down the road
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin won last week’s Stating the Obvious Prize when he predicted Congress will approve an increase in the government debt limit sometime in September.
Of course lawmakers will approve a new debt ceiling. There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth by both Democrats and Republicans, but it will happen. Both sides will accuse the other of being responsible for the government’s unsustainable spending habit.
Republicans will insist something needs to be done about entitlements.
Democrats will respond that if we would just tax “the rich” more, we could afford even more entitlements.
But one could bankrupt every truly rich person in the country and do no more than postpone the day of reckoning on deficit spending. And as for new taxes on corporations, they already are so high that U.S. companies are moving to other countries.
At this writing, the national debt stood at $19.97 trillion. That works out to more than $165,000 for each and every taxpayer in the United States.
That was the good news. The bad news is that the government has used so many accounting gimmicks to hide the real debt that it probably totals somewhere around $67 trillion.
But it seems there is not enough political courage in Washington to do anything about spending. Need we remind you that just a few weeks ago, Congress failed to do something about a major entitlement, the expanded Medicaid program, which has been in existence for only a few years?
Unfortunately, Mnuchin is right. Sometime during the next few months, Congress will increase the debt ceiling.
That is one thing Washington can be counted upon to get done.