The Washington Post

GOP debate: Bachmann’s ‘blank check’ gibberish

Another pet peeve of mine to emerge at the Tea Party debate in Florida last night was the assertion that raising the debt ceiling was giving President Obama a blank check for more spending. Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) is fond of this willfully ignorant allegation.

Well there’s a reason why the deficit went up and up and up. When you have a trillion dollars worth of spending that you don’t pay for, it’s going to go up. And now we’re seeing again that the president wants to do more of the same. I was the leading voice in the wilderness of Washington all summer, I was one of the only people in Washington that said, “Do not raise the debt ceiling. Don’t give the president of the United States another $2.4 trillion blank check.”

Wrong. As I explained until I was blue in the face (so we’re talking a long time, people), raising the debt ceiling is not — I repeat, IS NOT — like giving the president a blank check or adding more to the national credit card. Increasing the legal limit the federal government can borrow allows it to pay for things it has already bought. In short, the money’s been spent.

While there’s no need to rehash why raising the debt ceiling was paramount, it is imperative that ‘blank check’ gibberish from a top-tier presidential candidate be corrected.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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