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The repeated refrain from the likes of Paul Krugman and Jay Carney is that we MUST increase the debt limit so that we don't default on the full faith and credit of the United States, and that we continue to pay our bills. Indeed, on Monday, President Obama chastised Congressional Republicans for making spending cuts mandatory in any debt ceiling negotiation:
They can act responsibly, and pay America's bills or they can act irresponsibly, and put America through another economic crisis," he said. "But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy.
Funny thing about our ability to pay our bills - we don't need to raise the debt ceiling to do that. Last night, Dean Clancy led a discussion on the debt ceiling on FreedomWorks livestream, where they featured the following chart that shows why:
As you can see, we have more than enough revenue to pay for all of our mandatory spending, including interest on our absurdly high public debt. We have so much revenue, in fact, that we can also pay for a good chunk of the discretionary (read: completely unnecessary) spending as well.
And when I call it unnecessary spending, I mean it. When I pressed FreedomWorks staff for the breakdown of the "Welfare and Other Spending" block (in grey in the chart), the reply was that it would take a while to compile a list, because it's comprised of TWENTY TWO HUNDRED FEDERAL PROGRAMS. This includes everything - Department of Energy, Department of Education, EPA and other whole agencies, welfare, unemployment, everything. We can't find ways to cut back our budget at least to the point where we're not incurring new debt?
I don't buy it, and neither should you.