Congress raised the nation’s debt limit this week with (relatively speaking) little notice. That’s good.
Gone was the dangerous game of political chicken in which the nation’s economic health was held hostage to budget deal making.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican, deserves credit for putting the nation ahead of partisan politics. He worked with Democrats to get the votes needed to avoid a protracted, bitter and — ultimately — pointless battle. The speaker worked to win support from his own caucus for various plans, and untimely relied on Democrats to approve a “clean” debt-limit increase on a 221-201 vote.
Boehner, no doubt, has riled some of the more conservative members of his party.
But throwing the nation into turmoil every couple of months is not going to solve the source of this problem — annual deficit spending.
Deficit spending — adding to the outrageous national debt of over $17 trillion — cannot be sustained. What’s needed is a long-term plan to reduce spending to a sustainable rate that will steadily reduce the national debt.
A balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution will eventually be needed to force Congress to stick with the plan to reduce debt.
A decade ago we strongly opposed the concept of using the Constitution in this manner, but it has become clear Congress needs a stick to stay focused on debt reduction. Many — too many — Republicans and Democrats are so attached to their ideology they are blinded and can’t see they are about to run the country off the rails.
The lack of drama in raising the debt limit is a good sign Congress can put the nation above partisan politics.