Going Cold Turkey on Debt Reduction For the Win

Congress had debt on the brain in 2011—fights over the debt ceiling, the Supercommittee, the Bush tax cuts, and voucherizing Medicare—but it amounted to just talk. It was a weird issue to focus on in the year before a big election, since most voters find unemployment and the general economy more important problems to tackle than the federal deficit. And, it turns out that this obsession with the debt was a bad idea for more than Congress' approval rating. Bloomberg reported that there was record demand this year for U.S. government bonds, making it cheaper for the U.S. to finance its debt now than it was during the surpluses in the 90s. While Congress was mired in a battle over the deficit, the market was begging the government to borrow more.

With the Bush tax cuts scheduled to expire in a year and the national debt set to reach the legal limit once again, Congress has a clear excuse to keep fighting over debt in the new year. However, unless legislators want to end 2012 with an even lower approval rating, it is time for Congress to take up the mantle of populism, and spend us out of the economic slump instead of cutting costs and driving us into recession. The government shouldn't waste this opportunity to fix our infrastructure, put the unemployed back to work, and deal with other pressing problems, by borrowing money with no interest. But that can only happen if Congress doesn't make the same mistakes it made in 2011. 
 

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