January 13, 2013

Another View: Government should pay its bills, just like individuals

When someone can't pay his bills, the credit card company stops extending credit limits.


Regarding the editorial on the looming debt ceiling negotiations ("Our View: Congress should not use debt ceiling as hostage," Jan. 8): I would respectfully disagree with Sen. Angus King's quoted explanation that Congress' refusal to raise the debt limit would be "like an individual buying things with a credit card and then refusing to pay the bill."

Instead, I would argue that raising the debt limit would be like a creditor raising the credit limit on an individual's account after that person reached his or her limit, and then realized he does not have enough income to pay the bill. When that happens, the borrower is forced to pay what he can, with his present income, and not buy more goods or services using the credit card.

The trouble seems to be that giving Congress more money (or raising the debt limit) allows them to charge (spend) more, rather than forcing them to buy (spend) less.

I would also argue that the Republican strategy to not want to lift the debt ceiling without corresponding equal or greater spending cuts did not result in the downgrading of the country's credit rating. As you know, the Republicans did not get enough necessary spending cuts, the ceiling was raised, and then the credit rating was dropped.

The same would happen to one who continued to ask their credit card company for a higher limit without paying down their debt. Of course the creditor would not raise the limit, or one's credit rating would drop.

Just as individuals have to live within a budget, so should the federal government, especially since its only source of income is from those same individuals.

Linda Rier is a resident of Topsham.


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