An article at the website of ABC News this morning carries the headline “Senate to Move Ahead on ‘Clean’ Debt-Limit Increase.” The quotes around the word clean are those of the article’s author, former New York Times columnist Jeff Zeleny. He was right in adding them, if for the wrong reason.
“Clean,” as Zeleny and Washington pols use it, is a misnomer.
It is politicalspeak for “unencumbered,” meaning the opposition party (in this case the Republicans, who control the House) agrees to the increase without demanding something in return. In this coming debt limit debate as was the case in 2011, the GOP is seeking spending cuts, particularly to the entitlement state, which has grown dramatically on Barack Obama’s watch.
In August 2012, as a case in point, a Heritage Foundation report indicated that federal and state welfare assistance had grown almost 19% under the Obama administration. The number of families receiving food stamps alone has reached an unprecedented high of more than 32 million, according to a July 2013 report by The Century Foundation.
If anyone is befouling the debate over raising the debt limit, it is the president and Democratic leadership. Even if they were content to maintain the status quo, government spending is so far out of control that the nation is in a potential fiscal death spiral. But they’re not interested in keeping the debt at current levels. They want to raise it so that more American families can become wards of the state, living off the government dole (translation: other people’s money).
The term clean in this context makes as much sense as it would if your child responded to the demand to his “clean his room” by adding a third as much clutter as already existed.
One of Obama’s grandiose promises on assuming the reins of leadership in 2008 was to change the way Washington worked. Yet, in the five years since he took occupancy of the Oval Office, he has done more to enshrine business as usual inside the Beltway than any president before him.
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- The uncompromiser in chief
- Obama’s debt limit dishonesty
- Forget the debate over raising the $16.9 trillion debt ceiling: U.S. debt is 7 times that amount
- Who would be faulted for default?
- Obama’s campaign letter to federal workers
- How monetary policy might mitigate Washington’s budget crisis this time around
- Feds spend $14.5 billion annually on animal testing
- Lew: U.S. will default if debt ceiling not raised
- Boehner says House doesn’t have votes to raise debt limit
- What Goldman Sachs is saying about government shutdown and debt ceiling
- Obama threatens to hold retirees Social Security checks hostage unless GOP caves