The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Debt Limit: All Games, No Fun

From my Bloomberg Opinion column:

But if you look at the issue from the perspective of Thune and the other Republicans, you can see why Democratic efforts to shame them into voting to raise the debt limit are failing.

There is a long bipartisan tradition of opposition parties inveighing against the irresponsibility of the party in power for debt-limit increases.

“America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership,” said Senator Barack Obama in 2006. “Americans deserve better.” Senator Joe Biden voted with him as Republicans, then in the majority, raised it on their own. When Obama and Biden became president and vice president, their view of which stance on the debt ceiling was responsible changed dramatically.

There is also a tradition of bipartisan deals that enable an increase in the debt limit.

The difference this time: “Republicans are being asked to give up the opportunity to take shots at Democrats over the debt-limit increase without getting any policy victories in return.”

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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