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Working People are the Losers in the Debt Ceiling Agreement

Published by, June 8, 2023


Your president recently signed the bi-partisan legislation which brought the country’s potential default to a screeching halt. After weeks of political posturing and wretched wrangling over the current $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, Joe Biden held his signing pen up in victory. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy beat his chest in Republican bravado. The Dems and the GOP shook hands over a deal that threw working families under the bus. Again.

Apparently, both Parties like living on the edge because there’s always debt—spending more than what’s in the treasury—and they always raise the ceiling. There never seems to be a serious look at the nation’s budget, changing spending needs and wants.

The average American can’t afford to engage in these kinds of bad spending habits. Our budget-balancing practice is robbing Peter to pay Paul. And when we can’t, there are dire consequences to face.

Since 1960, the debt ceiling has been raised 78 times. Democrats have raised it 29 times. The party which calls itself fiscally conservative has raised the debt ceiling 59 times. Hypocrites!

The Republicans always demand cuts before they agree to a ceiling hike. You don’t have to wonder long as to who’s gonna’ take the brunt of those whacks. The cuts to balance the budget are always off the backs of the working class.

Let’s take a closer peek at some of what’s in the package.

The legislation took back $28 billion in COVID-19 relief funds that were unspent. Most towns and cities across the country still need the extra services and programs due to the toll of the pandemic. Communities are still reeling from the multilayered devastation of COVID-19.

The moratorium on student loan payments is over. People will have to start their payments at the end of the summer, regardless of their individual circumstances. What’s especially wicked about this piece is that the Biden administration is prohibited from ever extending another moratorium.

Work requirements have been mandated for those receiving food stamps. Any able-bodied person from 18 to 49 years old will be able to get food stamps for three months out of every three years if they work 20 hours per week or meet some other criteria. The law will raise the age requirement to 55 years old in phases. The government is raising that age just like they’re forever raising the age for receiving Social Security.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 allocated $80 billion to the Internal Revenue Service over the next decade. One key component of that law was to close loopholes and to enforce the tax codes for wealthy people. These are the rich folks who manage not to pay any federal income tax, like the trumps of the world. Add companies like FedEx, Hewlett Packard, Amazon, Nike and the list goes on. They engage in tax shelters, offshoring and a number of other completely legit American tricks to hold on to their mega profits. They can breathe easily now, because that money is off the table that was to hire hundreds of agents to hold those leeches accountable.

Because the getting was so good, Republican Senator Joe Manchin threw in speeding up the building of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in his home state of West Virginia. The move has infuriated many folks, especially indigenous peoples and environmentalists.

I never believed there would be a default and government shutdown. Congress was playing chicken. Nearly seventy percent of the U.S. debt is held by China, Japan and the United Kingdom. The global markets weren’t going to stand for the fiscal recklessness of the U.S. affecting their bottom lines.

It’s time we the People start playing an active role in this government’s fiscal policies and practices. These are our tax dollars. We need to be asking our so-called elected officials some hard questions.

Start with two questions:

Why can’t you operate with a balanced budget?

Why is the military budget untouchable?

Debating these questions will help to educate our people about finances on a macro level. More importantly, we must align government budgets with meeting our human needs that strengthen families and communities.

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