But let’s look for the silver lining, because while the debt ceiling debate was frustrating, it also gives reason to be encouraged. Perhaps most importantly, the debate served to shine a bright light on our nation’s fiscal reality. American taxpayers, who previously might not have given a lot of thought to the level of federal debt, were mortified to learn that some in Washington apparently believe we can increase the nation’s credit card limit indefinitely, without facing any consequences.
But taxpayers know that there are consequences from too much debt and deficit spending. Higher taxes, anemic economic growth and high rates of unemployment are what the debt and deficits have wrought. Americans are wisely saying, “Enough.”
So don’t think of the debt ceiling compromise as the end of the debate; in fact, it’s just the beginning. Over the next several months, and leading up to the 2012 elections, we’re going to face many more such debates over government spending, taxation and the direction of our nation. I’m looking forward to those debates. Let’s take this opportunity to draw that line in the sand and let our elected officials know that it’s time to get our financial house in order.
Gretchen Hamel is Executive Director of Public Notice, an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit dedicated to providing facts and insight on the economy and how government policy affects Americans’ financial well being.