The Los Angeles Times is concerned about the possibility that Republicans might not agree to raise the debt ceiling when it is set to go back into effect this month after a two-year suspension. In an editorial entitled, “The Federal Debt Limit Drama Isn’t a Fight Over Spending,” the Times says that since Joe Biden is now president, the Republicans will bring “renewed drama about the federal debt limit.”

What nonsense! Is the Times editorial board that innocent and naive? Republicans have always caved when it comes to the debt ceiling. And they are going to cave this time as well.

But there is no doubt that the right thing to do would be to enforce the debt ceiling by refusing to permit U.S. officials to exceed it. What better way to limit the federal government’s spending proclivities than by forcing it to live within its means — i.e, by not running up more debt on taxpayers’ credit card?

The Times points out that Republicans could have cut spending when Trump was president. That’s true. But they didn’t. As everyone knows, Republicans are as big spenders as Democrats are.

According to, the amount of federal debt today exceeds $28.6 trillion. That amounts to $227,000 per taxpayer. That doesn’t include the so-called unfunded liabilities, such as Social Security and Medicare. The American people are on the hook for a lot of money. And it just keeps getting worse, month after month, year after year.

The Times says that the fight over the debt ceiling isn’t about spending. That’s silly. Of course it is. If the amount of spending equaled the amount of tax revenues, the debate would be moot. The reason the debt-ceiling issue has arisen is because federal officials, like always, want to spend more than what they are bringing in with taxes.

Think about the last time the debt ceiling was reached. People like the members of the LA Times editorial board were saying the same things that the Times is saying now — that to enforce the debt ceiling would be irresponsible and would send the United States into collapse. They said the same thing every time the debt ceiling has been reached. 

But here is the kicker. As soon as the debt ceiling is raised, it’s back to business as usual. Spending and debt just keep increasing. And there are no serious calls, including within the mainstream press, to slash federal spending so that expenditures equal tax revenues. Everyone  is simply relieved that the spending-and-debt juggernaut got another reprieve. No one is concerned about reaching the new debt ceiling a few years down the road.

And everyone knows that when the new debt ceiling is reached, the same thing will happen. The editorial writers will exclaim that the world will come to an end if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. The Republicans will cave. The debt ceiling will be raised. And the feds will keep spending and borrowing until the new debt ceiling is reached, when the charade will occur again.

Enforcing the debt ceiling is the best way to force the federal government to limit expenditures to tax revenues. Does that mean slashing spending? Of course. The members of Congress are going to have to figure out where to do that. But so what? Isn’t making tough decisions why congressmen get paid their generous salaries?

Ultimately, the real issue Americans have to face is that the welfare-warfare state way of life has brought on this problem. The best thing Americans could ever do is rid our nation entirely of its socialism, interventionism, imperialism, and national-security statism rather than trying to make it work.

The model for this is 19th-century America, when Americans lived without Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, public (i.e., government) schooling, income taxation, fiat (i.e., paper) money, drug laws, immigration controls, Pentagon, military-industrial complex, CIA, NSA, FBI, EPA, DEA, IRS, Federal Reserve, Homeland Security, Centers for Disease Control, FDA, EPA, Cold War, war on terrorism, foreign wars and interventions, coups, foreign aid, alliances with dictators, state-sponsored assassinations, economic regulations, and most of the other welfare-warfare state programs, departments, and agencies that characterize the federal government today.

If they could do it, we can do it. It’s just a matter of whether Americans want to be free or whether they want to remain living their lives as debt-ridden, welfare-warfare-state serfs.

This article was originally published at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

Jacob Hornberger
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