Many of you may not be aware, but there was a vote to increase the debt ceiling in the House of Representatives this evening just after 7:00PM EDT.  It’s still a little puzzling as to why the vote was held, other than to put Democrats to the test of voting to increase the debt ceiling without any riders or amendments; a so called “clean bill.”  About half the Democrats took the bait, and about half did not.

The bill was a Republican bill that not a single Republican voted for.  Confusing?  Don’t feel bad, many are.

The Republican bill proposed to increase the national debt limit by $2.4 trillion and its defeat was about as uncertain as snow in the Arctic Circle.  But the political theater had its purpose, even if its lopsided defeat was a given.

Republicans hoped to demonstrated that Democrats were not willing to go on record supporting a straight increase in the debt ceiling without taking positive steps to stem the tide of deficits and debt, and they were right; at least partially  Of the 435 members of the House, only 97 of the 192 of the Democrats voted to run the taxpayer’s credit cards for another $2.4 trillion.  If anything was surprising about this vote it’s that a majority of House Democrats voted for the increase even after House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer implored his members to vote down the bill to avoid giving the Republicans an issue to use against them; a testament that far left liberals predominate the House.

House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich. commented, “I consider defeating an unconditional increase to be a success, because it sends a clear and critical message that the Congress has finally recognized we must immediately begin to rein in America’s affection for deficit spending,” he said.

Hoyer told media this past week that the Republicans call for a clean vote was nothing more than a charade, which, of course, it was.  Most everyone in the House understood that public sentiment against an increase in the debt ceiling has been growing.  Recent polls show nearly 2 to 1 against raising the debt limited without significant moves to reduce spending and control entitlements. Yet, despite the will of the public, the most liberal member of congress, Sander Levin, D-Mich., accused Republicans of a “ploy so egregious that (they) have had to spend the last week pleading with Wall Street not to take it seriously and risk our economic recovery.”

Generally the public isn’t even aware of increases in the national debt limit, because it’s been done through backroom deals and kept quiet.  This year, with the keen focus of the public, and most notably the Tea Party, on government spending and the growing national debt, any attempt to increase the nation’s credit card bill gets little support.  A significant segment of the public is against increasing the debt limit regardless of actions taken to reduce spending.  I count myself amongst those that believe without absolute limits the federal government will never be able to control its spending habits.  Democrats have proven that for the better part of a century and Republicans proved they weren’t much better during the Bush administration.

Most in the upper echelons of the federal government are telling us that we face Armageddon if we don’t increase the debt limit, but is this true? Unfortunately that all depends upon who you ask.  The talking points being strewn about are that failing to raise the debt ceiling threatens the full faith and credit of the United States.  That’s simply bologna.  There is only one certainty to not raising the debt limit and that’s that the federal government can’t borrow more money from other countries like China.  Does it mean we can’t pay our bills and default as many claim?  Absolutely false.  Tax revenue is sufficient to cover all interest payments, all payments due to Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security benefits, military salaries and government employee salaries.  So what’s the problem? Well it’s not without pain.  Many government programs would not be fully funded, specifically government contracts for services and products.  Note the use of the word “fully funded.”  There would be enough money to fund most programs at a reduced rate, however many programs would need to run on fumes or be cancelled all together; which may be the best situation of all.  It’s time the government set aside their “pet” projects and decide what we absolutely have to have and what we can live without.  Nothing will better serve to force financial responsibility in Washington than to cut up their credit card.  What do businesses and individuals do when they run out of money and hit the limit on their credit?  Just imagine the problems folks would get into if they could make a call and have their credit limits raising indefinitely; why should our government be any different?

The vote in congress this evening was just political theater.  The sad fact is that we’re likely looking at a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt limit with some simulated reductions in spending so congress can go back to their districts and tout what miraculous things they’ve done to control the nation’s debt when it’ll all be smoke and mirrors.  If we didn’t learn that from the last continuing resolution, we never will.  We prosecute bar tenders for serving the drunk, but we serve up the cash to the spend-aholics in Washington and then complain about the debt disasters they cause.