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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., left, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., center, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., right, finish a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, where they and other lawmakers announced their plan to introduce new legislation to eliminate the federal debt ceiling. They group views the current debt ceiling law as an unnecessary impediment to Congress in furthering economic recovery. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Opinion Sampler: Raise the debt limit ...

Raise the limit: Dispute over debt limit irresponsible — Salt Lake Tribune

It is a measure of just how upside down our nation is when the Democrat in the White House is the fiscal conservative and the Republicans in Congress are the financial radicals. But that is the pass we have come to.

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President Obama is nothing but correct when he points out that the reason the federal debt limit of $16.4 trillion is as high as it is, and needs to be higher, is that majorities in Congress — Republicans and Democrats — have already spent the money. And they spent the money without raising the taxes necessary to cover those costs.

Things like two wars we didn’t pay for and a decade of tax cuts for the rich (and everyone else), which carry the fingerprints of both parties, are the cause of a national debt that is about to hit the ceiling. For Republicans such as Utah’s Rep. Jason Chaffetz to even entertain the idea that the United States government should default on its debts goes beyond unreasonable into the realm of delusional. ...

And it isn't just the liberal Trib that feels this way. A couple of conservative edit pages do, too.:

The debt ceiling: Right fight, wrong time — Manchester (N.H.) Union-Leader Editorial

... Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives need to take a firm stand against Washington's reckless spending habits. They just need to find a better place to make that stand than from atop the debt ceiling. ...

The debt ceiling distraction — Chicago Tribune Editorial

... It's not a higher debt ceiling that fuels spending and deficits. It's higher spending and chronic deficits that lead to a higher debt ceiling. Raising the debt ceiling allows the Treasury to go on borrowing to cover bills that have already been incurred. If the budget were brought into balance, there would be no need. ...

And:

Federal debt ceiling not like your credit limit — The Republican (Springfield, Mass) Editorial

... In the coming weeks, as the nation bumps up against the federal debt ceiling, there will be plenty of people who will try to compare a family’s credit cards – and their credit limit – to the debt ceiling, the statutory borrowing limit of the federal government. The people have to live within their means, the argument will go, and so too should the federal government.

There’s a word for this kind of thinking: nonsense. You could also call it hogwash. Some perhaps simply don’t understand. Others, who do, seek to twist the facts....

'Toons have taken over Washington — Prescott (Ariz.) Daily Courier Editorial

Americans might be wondering if they are stuck in a Looney Toons cartoon. We technically went over the fiscal cliff at the start of 2013, but just like Daffy or the Road Runner, we've yet to begin our descent. We are in that part of the cartoon where the victim hovers in midair, quizzically looking around and waiting for the next calamity. ...

Economists: Don’t mess around with the debt ceiling! — Zachary A. Goldfarb | Wonkblog/The Washington Post

More than 80 percent of the country’s leading economists say that the nation’s debt ceiling creates unnecessary uncertainty and can lead to worsening the nation’s financial picture, according to a new survey of more than 40 academics. ...

Congress Can Resolve the Debt-Limit Crisis. Really. — Bloomberg Views Editorial

... Tie spending decisions to automatic increases in the debt limit. The premise is simple — when Congress passes a budget resolution or spending bill, it should also authorize a concurrent increase in the statutory debt limit to pay for what it’s authorizing. This would have the added benefit of fostering fiscal restraint by linking spending decisions to the Congress that authorizes the money. If that local airport runway (or, as the case may be, "Bridge to Nowhere") is in the budget, then the Treasury Department can raise the debt limit to pay for it. No additional congressional action would be necessary...

Cut spending, but not with debt-ceiling knife — Charlotte Observer Editorial

Budget fallout hits states, contractors — Omaha World Herald Editorial

Fiscal cliff past, Congress lurches on — Louisville Courier-Journal Editorial

'Trillion dollar coin' idea is worthless — San Francisco Chronicle Editorial

Time for politicians to get past the debt bluster — Washington Post Editorial



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