Anyone with a functioning brain stem already knows that Fox News will distort issues to advance their rightist agenda. But the worst part of their activist pseudo-journalism is when they deliberately present material that is so obviously false that it is an insult to their audience. Lucky for them their audience actually is too stupid to know they are being insulted. Take for instance this item posted today with the headline “Democrat Congressmen Call for Unlimited Federal Debt.”
The article reports on legislation in the House to eliminate the debt ceiling. For the Fox Nationalists to portray the bill as a call for unlimited debt is an outright lie that any economist, even the conservative ones, would dismiss as blatantly false.
The debt ceiling has nothing whatsoever to do with the amount of debt carried by the nation. Raising the debt ceiling does not increase the federal debt by one penny. The national debt is produced by congressional spending bills. When congress spends more of the country’s money than it receives in revenue it creates debt. After that debt is incurred the federal treasury is obligated to pay the bills for the goods and services it already consumed. When those obligations exceed the amount of the debt ceiling, the ceiling must be raised in order to issue payment. Raising the debt ceiling does nothing but allow the government to honor its obligations. If the ceiling is not raised, the debt still exists, as well as the state of default as a result of welching on our promises to pay.
Eliminating the debt ceiling would insure that we do not repeat the calamitous scenario of this past summer where Republicans held the nation hostage by threatening to destroy the country’s financial reputation in order to achieve their political goals. Their actions resulted in the downgrade of America’s credit rating for the first time in history.
Unfortunately, asking Fox News and their disciples to grasp the distinction between congressional spending and payment authority for bills already incurred is a tall order. Republicans are notably averse to reality when it doesn’t fit their preconceptions or the personal interests of their benefactors. This state of denial was well demonstrated by Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann last night as they attempted to educate a typical Republican.