Debts and defaults: Did extremism and racism play a part in debt fight in 2006?

U.S. debt graphic

U.S. Treasury figures on debt as of Oct. 11, 2008.



debt graphic U.S. Treasury

U.S. Treasury figures on current debt.

 When it comes to the debt ceiling, calls for government reform, and the size of the debt, the party in power usually wants the status quo to continue, although there have been significant departures to that habit even before the infamous tea partiers Democrats so love to hate and malign.

A walk down Memory Lane begs a couple questions. Was then-Senator Barack Obama a racist in 2006? Was Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) an extremist?

Consider the following:

*Start with clearing up a falsehood. Despite what President Barack Obama and his fellow “progressives” (progs for short) claim, the U.S. has defaulted before. At least twice, according to the Associated Press (via The Daily Caller), in 1814 and in 1979. The sky didn’t fall.

*In March, 2006, when Republican president George W. Bush wanted the debt ceiling increased, Democrats went ballistic. So did some Republicans. Dems complained about off-the-books debt for hurricanes and for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dems don’t say anything about off-the-books debt now. Although progs assail the current tea party movement, there were certainly government reformers in Congress and despite a Republican plurality, the vote on the budget was close because of fiscal conservatives:

“But conservative Republicans balked at supporting the budget when the price tag crashed through the $873 billion cap in discretionary spending proposed by the White House.” (CNN)

*In 2006 Republicans were criticizing their own party as well as Dems for spending. Pat Toomey is a senator now, but he worked in the private sector at that time after serving in Congress previously. Toomey, now a U.S. senator (Penn.) said, “Somebody needs to stand up and say, Stop me before I spend again…They do seem to be addicted.” (New York Times)

*In 2006 then-Senate minority leader Harry Reid led the fight against an increase in the debt limit. That’s right. The chief proponent of spending more under Obama portrayed himself as a tea party type then and Reid wasn’t about to “negotiate” with Bush. Was Reid holding the country hostage? Here’s an idea of where Reid stood at that time:

“The Republicans better scrounge up some votes,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said yesterday. “We’re not going to give them a pass on this.”(The Hill)

*By now you may realize Obama also went tea party when Bush 43 was in office. A prog writing for Slate analyzed Obama’s flamboyant speech assailing Bush for debt. Obama’s debt is bigger. The prog writer, by the way, gave Obama the customary Get-Out-of-Hypocrisy-Free-Card most Dems get. The prog writer got one point disturbingly wrong, however. Reid and the Democrats did do everything they could to oppose debt increases largely due to those wars and for hurricane relief. Obama fumed:

“Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is ‘trillion’ with a ‘T.’ That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.”

Hop over to the U.S. Treasury where you can compare the debt under Bush 43 and Obama’s debt at a point in time. There is a small difference. Bush only had months left in office as of October, 2008. Obama’s still got three years to push tax hikes and even more big spending.

In 2006, Obama said, “I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

Would Rep. Charles Rangel whose botched taxes are long forgotten have called Obama a “confederate” or did Reid call Obama an “extremist”? Was then Sen. Obama being racist towards a white president? Those questions sound silly, don’t they?

At present, progs are doing what they do best. Promoting hysteria and inflammatory rhetoric over a dispute about spending. Republicans never could touch progs when it comes to theatrics or fabrications.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Oct. 16, 2013)

About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.

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