Maybe If the Kitchen Table Is on a Yacht… with Servants
This AP analysis — or whatever you would call such an essay — by Calvin Woodward and Martin Crutsinger is dumb to the point of being offensive. Woodward and Crutsinger try to put the debt ceiling debate in terms of family finances, and the lede that the Providence Journal gave to the story captures the error:
The choice in simple terms: Borrow more while fixing the budget, or refuse more debt, leave some bills unpaid and risk upheaval
Perhaps I’m not alone in thinking that the politicians’ preferred option would actually be to borrow more without fixing the budget and then make the same threats and doomsday predictions when the problem comes around again. And what about the unmentioned option of living within one’s means in the first place? President Obama offers a typically erroneous comparison:
“A family, if they get over-extended and their credit card is too high, they don’t just stop paying their bills,” he said. “What they do is, they say, how do we start cutting our monthly costs?
“We don’t stop sending our kids to college, we don’t stop fixing the boiler or the roof that’s leaking. We do things in a sensible, responsible way.”
The idea that our bloated government is so trim and efficient that the next cut will have to be to the roof maintenance budget is ridiculous on its face. But frankly, if a household is to the point at which it has to borrow forty cents of every dollar it spends, then it really has to think about selling the house and (contrary to the essay’s authors) selling some assets is really not an extreme step.