As Congress prepares to debate an increase in the debt ceiling, it is instructive to hear all voices on the matter.
To that end, some excerpts from a floor statement made by then-Senator Obama on March 16, 2006:
"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies.
Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is ``trillion'' with a ``T.'' That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President's budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion."
NOTE: Since taking office, President Obama has increased the federal debt by more than $3.5 trillion. His own budget doubles the debt held by the public by the end of his first term and triples it by 2021.
"If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies."
Why the change of heart? The President has called for a "clean" debt limit increase -- read: blank check -- and Administration officials have called it "ridiculous" that House Republicans would call for reforms that cut spending and change our budget trajectory.
Indeed, the S&P's downgrading the long-term outlook for the United States' credit rating is a sign that we can't afford to write the Administration a blank check. Any increase in the debt ceiling must be tied to fundamental reforms that, as Jack has said, "destroy the spending infrastructure."
"Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ``the buck stops here.'' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
We couldn't agree more.