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October 13, 2013

Column: Sad shutdown stories distract from debt crisis

Yes, the nation’s debt ceiling has to be raised.

Whether or not that action includes some kind of compromise on spending or delay of any Obamacare provisions that President Obama doesn’t want to delay (he delays others unilaterally, without even consulting Congress), the bottom line is that it has to be raised.

On that much, the president deserves some kind of validation, if only for stating the obvious.

And while Republicans are correct to push for controls on spending and for a delay in the individual mandate for Obamacare (since the president granted a year’s delay for employers), they ought to be smart enough to know that using a government shutdown or a vote on the debt ceiling as leverage is not a winning political strategy.

Republicans ought to know that the mainstream media will ignore the long-term catastrophic implications of unrestrained growth in the debt, since that would take doing some homework on the projections of the Congressional Budget Office. They ought to know the media will focus only on short-term sob stories from the growing ranks of helpless dependents, cruelly abandoned by a temporary halt in government support.

We have heard, and will keep hearing, that Republicans want children to die! Republicans don’t want poor families to be able to put food on the table! They don’t want new wonder drugs to be developed to save sick people! They don’t want children to have good schools! They want elderly people to freeze! Etc.

But, while Obama enjoys having his media lapdogs do his heavy lifting against his opponents, it would be nice if he could drop the sanctimonious tone about how he’s taking the high moral ground on the debt ceiling – that simply raising it means the nation is doing the fiscally responsible thing.

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