I’m prompted by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s testimony before the Senate Finance Committee Thursday.
The Wall Street Journal paraphrased him, in part, with this:
Given current spending and tax levels, the government would probably have to cut spending by at least 30%—or $100 billion—a month if the borrowing limit wasn’t increased.
This is an excellent argument for Congress getting spending under control. Think about that: the Federal government, by Lew’s own claims, is saying it spends $100 billion per month more than it collects in tax (and other) revenues. The Federal government, this year alone, is spending $1.2 trillion dollars more than it’s collecting. That $1.2 trillion deficit goes right to our national debt; we borrow to cover that shortfall. Getting this profligacy under control—eliminating that profligacy—is the only way to get rid of budget deficits, and the elimination of those deficits—not their reduction, but their elimination—is the only way to avoid having to repeatedly increase the amount of our borrowing, the only way to eliminate the “need” to repeatedly raise the debt ceiling—which is no ceiling, no limit at all, if it’s always raised for the asking.
Along these lines, Lew also said this (direct quote, no paraphrase):
I don’t believe there is a way to pick and choose on a broad basis. The system was not designed to be turned off selectively. Anyone who thinks it can be done just doesn’t know the architecture of our multiple [payment systems].
This is proof of our need to rationalize and streamline our payment systems, and the ideal time to do this is while we’re reducing and reforming our spending as a whole.