Rich Galen

Hey, here’s a scoop! I was wrong about when the shutdown would end. I thought it would be last Thursday.

My new prediction is: Never.

As I think I’ve made pretty clear in MULLINGS and on TV, I thought – and still think – that tying the shutdown to repealing or delaying ObamaCare was a bad idea.

That doesn’t mean I think ObamaCare is a <i>good></i> idea; I do not. But, the GOP’s mantra, if you will remember, was “Repeal and Replace.”

Republicans in the House and Senate cannot repeal, and they have not offered a replacement.

But, that was last week’s news. This week’s news is we are about 10 days from the financial world coming to an end – again – this time because we are about to bump our national fiscal head on the debt ceiling.

The current debt limit is, according to the Congressional Budget Office, $16.699 trillion.

The federal debt limit is no different than the limit on your VISA card. When you hit it, you can’t use it at Target (or anyplace else) anymore.

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, we will hit our national credit card limit on Thursday, October 17, 2003. The last time we hit the debt limit was, according to the Concord Coaltion,

“May 19th, 2013. On that date, the debt limit reset to the total federal debt at the time, which at that point was $16.699 trillion.”

If you’re keeping score, the new debt limit was $305 billion more than the previous debt limit which had been set on January 28, 2012. That limit was $1.2 trillion higher than its predecessor that had been set on September 22, 2011.

So, raising the debt limit has become a regular event here in Our Nation’s Capital.

There are many reasons – too technical and complicated for you or me to understand – as to why we have to raise the debt ceiling.

I think they all come down to this: We. Are. Spending. Too. Much. Money.

As a recipient of both Social Security and Medicare, I understand that cutting back on those benefits is frightening to many who, unlike me, have no other source of income or health care.


I got a flu shot over the weekend. My Blue Cross insurance did not cover it. Medicare Part B did, so for all of you who wrote to me to say that I don’t need Medicare Part B if I have private insurance … hah!

As I mentioned the other day I pay $335.70 per month for Medicare Part B.

I don’t know how much the flu shot would have cost <i>sans</i> insurance, but as this is the first thing Medicare Part B has ever paid for it cost me $4,028.40.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at