Rich Galen

You might well be asking yourself, “If $16.7 trillion isn’t enough – how much <i>IS</i> enough? Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. According to the NY Times, he wrote to Jack Lew, who is the Secretary of the Treasury, and asked the same thing.

Here, according to the <i>Times</i> is how Lew responded:

“Only Congress can authorize an increase in the nation’s borrowing authority, and therefore Congress must choose how long to extend the debt limit.”

That’s like going in to buy a car and the sales person asking, “How much are you willing to pay?” If you say, “Three dollars and forty seven cents,” you will not have a deal.

If the Congress raises the debt limit from $16.699 Trillion to $16.701 Trillion, we will not have a deal.

The reason Lew responded like a fool to Sen. Hatch is explained later in the article:

“The Treasury secretary underscored the president’s position that he … will not negotiate over whether the United States should pay its bills.”

The money that goes to running the federal government comes from taxes you and I pay, from bonds the Treasury sells, and from fees, levies, and tolls it charges to maintain specific services.

That’s the income side. On the outgo side money is spent on programs and projects each of which has a strong enough champion to demand it.

At some point we have to slow the growth of those programs on projects – whether they be crop subsidies, food stamps, or … dare I say it? Medicare and Social Security.

If Speaker John Boehner wants to have a fight over that, I’m in.

That is a worthy battle – a winnable battle. ObamaCare is not.

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