Explaining the Debt Ceiling (part 2)

So…as you found out with Delores, the debt ceiling is like a very large mortgage. It represents not only the money that is needed to pay for something that is not realistically affordable, but also, due to credit ratings, holds the potential for how much money can be borrowed above and beyond that as well. The worse the credit rating, the lower the amount available and the higher the interest rates.

That is the debt ceiling in a sort- of over simplified and slight wrong way, but it will work as a basis for understanding.

In America, 40 cents of every dollar that the government spends is borrowed. And borrowed mostly from China these days although we borrow from just about every country there is. That means that we only produce 60 cents of every dollar. Producing means to raise revenue through exports, taxes or gaining investments.

Now, here are some very important things to understand as you witness the arguing going on in Washington about raising the debt ceiling.

Fact #1: The US does have to make payments on the money we borrow from other countries and/or show that when the notes come due, we will be able to make those payments. The other countries that we traditionally borrow from, because of their own economic problems, are not looking at us kindly because of Fact #2, which leads them to believe that we are setting ourselves up for a fall that will hurt them first and foremost when we default on our payments through delay or simply not being able to meet our obligations.

Fact #2: Every argument you here concerning whether or not to raise the debt ceiling is an absolute lie and part of a game that is constantly player by our political parties and leaderships. It does not matter if we are talking about conservatives or liberals, democrats, republicans or tea partiers – all of them are lying and playing a game. Why can I say this? Because implicitly understood whenever the houses vote to approve any type of spending – whether it be for a war or funding a social service program or a tax break – is that it raises our debt ceiling. That the debt ceiling must be raised is already understood, accepted and agreed upon every time funding happens.

If someone wants to preserve a tax break or not raise taxes with knowledge that 40 cents of every dollar is borrowed – they are accepting and approving that the debt ceiling must be raised.

In the same vein if someone wants to make budget cuts but still spend over 60 cents of every dollar amount committed – they are accepting and approving that the debt ceiling must be raised.

When it comes to the actual act of raising the debt ceiling, a drama is played out in hopes of gaining influence and status among popular perception.

Since 1962, the debt ceiling has been raised 74 times. It does not matter who is in charge, we keep increasing it.

The reason for our abysmal debt is not rooted in our spending.

Here is Fact 3, and this is the important one, you should write it down, tape it to your bathroom mirror so you see it every morning and then start to ask “Why?” It will not make you popular, but it will begin to open your mind to the kind of critical thinking needed to get out from under the soap opera we have been allowing to distract us from reality.

Fact #3: The US has gotten in increasing amounts of debt not due to government spending so much as do to our lack of earning money. We have ceased to become inventors and innovators, we do not manufacture things in a manner where they produce competitive and desired products and we have ruined our education and social welfare systems to the point that the less capable you are, the more you are rewarded. We have equalized business opportunities through regulation to the point that we are all equally allowed to become failures. We punish success because unless we think everyone can achieve it then it must be bad. We guarantee entitlement programs and never look at the fact that equality in life is an illusion in this country, yet rather than address the illusion that seeks to hide our classism and racism and oppression – we shower it with money and promises. We rabble about raising taxes on the rich when it is not the rich who should be taxed, but the poor who should be given the tools to become rich. We defend illusions of who we are with wars we cannot afford and aid packages to preserve a lip service to our place in the global community. We value appearance over substance. Gratification over growth and honestly think that in the span of 2 to 4 years someone can make or break our economy.

In essence, the US is caught in the payday loan cycle. Rather than look to change our circumstances and look to why these circumstances have been created we like to play victim and point fingers and place blame on people, places and things that if you think about it for even one minute – make no sense.

We have become consumers who cannot even afford to consume. We have ceased to support ourselves and want the rest of the world willing to become our welfare state. We are not independent, we are dependent.

And until we begin to see the reality of that, we will believe the smoke and mirrors of arguing about a debt ceiling that has already been decided and raised. We will wake up in shock when our credit rating is officially labeled as “at-risk” and cry at the speed with which the effects of that will be felt.

Stop believing all the nonsense. There is no such thing as separate parties. This thing we are witnessing in Washington right now is just theater. We have all done this together. And it is time to start to relearn how to think and to relearn how to live and to rebuild ourselves and to become independent. Time to start electing leaders and not actors. And you know what? We won’t find any leaders among the generation of career politicians we have now, from any party.

c.2011 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.

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About cassandratribe

"There are few artists that can do what Cassandra Tribe does. Whether with her poetry, her videos or her blog, Cassandra examines the truths that most of us can never come close to realizing and shows it for what it is, both beautiful and frightening at the same time. She exposes our inner-most workings like the cross-section of a powerful but flawed machine, our gears and springs, nuts and bolts removed and laid out before us. She is a true artist. Her new video, Requiem for a God, is the latest example of Cassandra's willingness to tear open and examine the very things that make us human. Shooting the film entirely by herself, she also eliminates all the little excuses we come up with to keep us from ourselves and our truth. You see, even when she's not trying to be, Cassandra Tribe is a beacon of truth and humanity in this darkest of worlds." (Michael E. Quigg, The Culture Network, June 2009)
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