Will the federal government default?

If the President (and his Senate) fail to reach a deal on raising the debt ceiling on October 17th, will the federal government go into default? Only if Barack Obama wants it to, because it’s entirely in his hands.

Can the government fund essential obligations?

Monthly revenue can easily cover the amount America must spend to service its debt. On top of that, monthly revenue can keep Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid fully funded — even at the bloated and obscenely wasteful levels at which those programs currently operate. In fact, America can even maintain all of its defense spending at current levels too.

What will happen on the 17th if no deal is reached? The federal government will be legally required to stop borrowing more money and adding to the debt.

Look at it this way. If you earn $5000 in salary every month, but you max out your credit cards by spending $6000 every month, the bank will eventually refuse to bump up your credit limit any further. When that happens, you can respond in several ways. You can cut your spending by $1000 and stay forever at the limit. You can cut spending by more than $1000 and start paying off your debt. Or you can refuse to cut your spending by at least $1000, and you’ll be unable to make payments on your debt. In other words, you can choose to go into default. If the only thing keeping you from cutting your spending is your fondness for steak, single malt scotch, Italian shoes, fast cars, and weekends in Vegas … the blame for your default is 100% yours.

Sound familiar?

If the Obama Administration announces that they’ll stop making interest payments on the national debt on October 17th, then they’ve voluntarily chosen that course of action. Nothing will force them into it.

There’s plenty of revenue coming in every month to keep America from defaulting on the debt. We do not have a revenue problem. We. Have. A. Spending. Problem.

Do we have a revenue problem?

Take a look at the average American’s share of federal revenue and spending from 1920 to now, adjusted for inflation to the value of a dollar in the year 2005. Click the chart to see it at full size.

We do not have a revenue problem

Since around 1995, the amount of revenue Uncle Sam has been able to squeeze out of the average American has leveled off between $6000 and $8000 per year, suggesting that we’ve hit the practical limit. Historically, the most revenue the federal government can expect to raise is an average of 18% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product; the entire annual American economy). In brief boom times or during existential threats like World War II, the federal government can squeeze more than 18% out of the economy, but it never lasts long. No matter how hard Uncle Sam tries, the biggest average chunk he can grab is locked in at 18% of the economy, because people respond to taxes.

In the seventeen years since 1995, Uncle Sam’s borrowing and spending has not leveled off. The average American’s share is past $10,000 per year and climbing. Our debt is piling up faster than we can repay it. The “recovery” from the late 2008 economic crash has been flat for years, but Uncle Sam keeps pushing the gas pedal down as we drive toward the edge of the cliff.

There is no more revenue to be had.

Squeezing blood from a stoneIf the federal government raises taxes it can only collect more than 18% of the economy for a short period, and then revenue will drop again, as always. If the government keeps borrowing — or tries to print boatloads of money — to feed its spending addiction, the inflation rate will skyrocket. That will destroy the value of the dollar, which will destroy the economy and your life’s savings.

As long as “money out” is a bigger number than “money in,” the national debt will grow and you’ll be on the hook for it. It will sink the economy as surely as that iceberg sank the Titanic. “Money in” is not going to get bigger, but “money out” absolutely will keep getting bigger as long as we keep sending the same progressives to Washington. They won’t stop themselves. Only we can stop them by replacing them with sane people who will reduce “money out” until it’s a lot lower than “money in,” and keep it there for generations. We can either take our medicine now and have an unpleasant experience, or we can keep deceiving ourselves and watch America collapse. There is no third option. The insane big-spending politicians in Washington are going to ruin your life and your children’s lives unless you stop them. Listen to the warning and save your country and your family.

We do not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either misinformed, a fool, or a liar.

“Hey, Reagan increased the debt just like Obama.”

Oh, really?

Debt-to-GDP Ratio under Obama and Reagan

When a country’s debt climbs past 60% of the total size of its economy for an entire year (what economists call its “Gross Domestic Product”), the country’s economic health suffers. When the debt-to-GDP ratio passes 90%, alarm bells go off. The longer it stays that high — or higher — the greater the risk of total economic collapse. We are becoming Greece.

We do not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.