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Noem and the Budget Crisis

Oct 22, 2013

The Aberdeen American News has lost patience with our lone representative in the U.S. House, Kristi Noem: 

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., has talked herself into a problem.  She has caught herself between pleas for relief for West River ranchers who lost thousands of cattle and tea party conservatives who want to limit government no matter the cost — even at the expense of relief for ranchers, such as the ones Noem represents…  When Noem could choose — voting for the best interests of South Dakota and the nation, or staying in the good graces of the fringe conservative movement — she voted with the latter.

That is a special kind of reasoning. If you refuse to vote for all the spending that everyone wants, you are voting against West River ranchers, the nation, mom and apple pie. If you believe, as Rep. Noem does, that we ought to be concerned about the nation’s $17 trillion dollar debt, that makes you a “fringe conservative.” 

The Obama Administration, much of Congress, and just about all of the media have been working overtime to convince us that we can’t reduce federal spending by a single penny without triggering the apocalypse. One way to do that is to talk as if failing to raise the debt limit means that the U.S. Government will automatically default on its debt. 

This is nonsense. If the spending bumps up against the debt limit, that means that the Treasury could not borrow any additional money. There is plenty of revenue flowing into federal coffers to cover interest on the national debt and that interest will be paid as the Constitution requires. What would happen is that we would quickly run out of money for new spending and then Congress and the Administration would have to make some tough choices. I am not saying that this is a good idea. A sudden contraction of federal spending would be a serious shock to the national and global economies. However, Democrats in Congress and luminaries on NPR are constantly telling us that those opposed to raising the debt limit are therefore in favor of defaulting the debt. That is a gross verbal inexactitude, otherwise known as a big, fat, lie. 

For decades the federal government has been making promises it cannot possibly keep and spending money it does not have. Our fiscal situation is not sustainable over the long run, as anyone who pays attention will be forced to admit. Yet we are told over and over that only a wild-eyed extremist would be in favor of the smallest reduction in federal spending. Sooner or later we will find ourselves in the position that we really can’t pay the interest on our debt without borrowing more money. At that point the United States will have shrunk itself down all the way to Detroit. 


Editor's Note: Ken Blanchard is our political columnist from the right. For a left-wing perspective on politics, please look for columns by Cory Heidelberger every other Wednesday on this site.

Dr. Ken Blanchard is a professor of Political Science at Northern State University and writes for the Aberdeen American News and the blog South Dakota Politics.



11:04 am - Tue, October 22 2013
Roger Holtzmann said:
Thank you, Mr. Blanchard, for enabling me to add "gross verbal inexactitude" to my lexicon. I love a good, juicy euphemism. Finding such pearls and enjoying them helps me avoid thinking about the horrid fiscal mess we all — I emphasize all — have had a hand in creating.
02:10 pm - Tue, October 22 2013
Gary Enright said:
Apparently Mr Blanchard has been waiting (not to patiently I might ad) for an opportunity to jump in the middle of Congresswoman Noem. Either we are going to get the bloated federal bureauracy under control or we are not. There are disaster relief programs already in place at USDA and the American News should spend its time and effort in getting the ball rolling in that direction rather than make "political hay" out of the recent disasterous blizzard. Nothing like a huge snowstorm to allow the Democrats to change focus away from the Washington DC problam.
05:40 am - Wed, October 23 2013
larry kurtz said:
Pick a lane, Ken and bless you for reminding readers that the US should start another war to float Noem's lead balloon over the dustbin of history as she prepares for her next career as a DC lobbyist.
06:02 am - Wed, October 23 2013
larry kurtz said:
Btw: Mitch McConnell added a dam project to the debt resolution and Kristi Noem is lamenting the lapse of funding for Lewis and Clark: GOP hypocrisy or "gross verbal inexactitude?"

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