Video: Step off the elevator in this skyscraper of debt

posted at 3:13 pm on July 6, 2011 by Tina Korbe

From the office of Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), a video that spells out why the United States’ credit rating should matter to individual citizens (and calls out the obvious fact that an ever-heightened debt ceiling is no ceiling at all):

“If we do nothing, our debt is on track to soar past 80 percent of our GDP, a level not seen since World War II,” the video states. “Just this year, the big three credit rating agencies warned us that the AAA rating for the United States government is at risk. This rating influences everything from the value of the dollar to mortgage interest rates. It creates a global impact felt at the local level, increasing costs of borrowing for families and businesses, diminishing the abilities of small businesses to invest and grow. The result? Fewer jobs. Indefinite recovery.”

Like other principled Congressmen, McHenry has said “no” to a debt ceiling increase without meaningful spending cuts. Heading into the deficit reduction meeting with the president Thursday, Republicans need to remember the debt ceiling increase itself is the compromise. That is, however necessary it might be at this stage in the game, it is still a license to borrow more, to deepen the debt. As financial adviser Dave Ramsey put it recently, “You can’t borrow your way out of debt.” Simple, maybe, but true.

Last night on Fox News, senior political analyst Brit Hume made the astute point that the president has begun to push more aggressively for tax increases to be a part of any debt limit deal because, at this point, an increase in the debt limit won’t mollify his base. That is, those on the left will consider the president to have compromised more than Republicans if the president agrees to spending cuts and “all” Republicans agree to is to raise the debt ceiling. But, as this video demonstrates, a debt limit increase is a lot to agree to! Each incremental adjustment to the debt ceiling likely brings us closer to “our real debt limit” — the point at which debt will overtake GDP.

For all that the impending debt ceiling deadline (27 days away!) has dominated political headlines (nothing compared to the non-political Casey Anthony coverage, of course), it’s all too easy to forget why it’s important, why it’s not just an abstract debate. This video is a welcome answer to all the abstraction.


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Holy crapola!

A Republican that can communicate a simple idea effectively!

Wonder of wonders!

Bruno Strozek on July 6, 2011 at 3:19 PM

This debate might look quite a bit different now if Boehner hadn’t agreed to a debt ceiling increase before any negotiation even began.

Bugler on July 6, 2011 at 3:21 PM

Good video but too late. There is no conceivable way to avoid default. It will either be slow default via inflating the value of the dollar to near zero over time or sudden if our debt holders wake up. Either is disaster.

Buy precious metals.
Move wealth off shore.

Rightyismighty on July 6, 2011 at 3:22 PM

This will ALL be solved if we just screw the rich with higher taxes, sheesh!

/Braindead leftists

Colbyjack on July 6, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Increasing taxes will never reduce the debt. It will just give Democrats that much more money to spend on whatever they like. Raising taxes to reduce the debt in this Congress is just like increasing your speed to reach the horizon.

Fred 2 on July 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Three words you will NEVER see a Democrat use in the same sentence: SOUND……..FISCAL……..RESPONSIBILITY.

pilamaye on July 6, 2011 at 3:27 PM

A tax deal can be part of a balanced budget amendment. A tax deal must not be part of a debt ceiling increase.

pedestrian on July 6, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Fred 2 on July 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM

What makes the Democrats such an abomination is that they aren’t doing this to just our children, they are doing it to their own. Vile, sick scum.

SKYFOX on July 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Good video but too late. There is no conceivable way to avoid default.

Rightyismighty on July 6, 2011 at 3:22 PM

This.

More.

Rebar on July 6, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Increasing taxes will never reduce the debt. It will just give Democrats that much more money to spend on whatever they like. Raising taxes to reduce the debt in this Congress is just like increasing your speed to reach the horizon.

Fred 2 on July 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM

It is like giving whiskey to cure an alcoholic.

We got into this mess with higher and higher taxation, what makes people think that more of the same insanity will clean it up?

Colbyjack on July 6, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Move wealth off shore.

Rightyismighty on July 6, 2011 at 3:22 PM

If we go under the world will be in chaos politically, then encomonically. China is not good natured, then will try to rule to you.

Oil Can on July 6, 2011 at 3:33 PM

What makes the Democrats such an abomination is that they aren’t doing this to just our children, they are doing it to their own. Vile, sick scum.

SKYFOX on July 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM

To a liberal, a child who is not aborted is an affront to Gaia.

pedestrian on July 6, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Vile, sick scum.

SKYFOX on July 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Just be careful, there is some Vile, sick scum that will resent being compared to the Democrats.

Colbyjack on July 6, 2011 at 3:34 PM

“But what about all those people that will have to go without while the rich just keep getting richer?”

I could write Dem talking point for a living since I live in Massachusetts and hear them all the day long.

Hening on July 6, 2011 at 3:41 PM

What the debt ceiling argument seems to miss is that raising the limit leads directly to the need to raise the debt ceiling AGAIN. And every time you raise it, your next increase will have to be larger and sooner than it was before.

The debt limit doesn’t authorize federal spending. It authorizes federal borrowing.

hawksruleva on July 6, 2011 at 4:01 PM

How cannot any sane person understand this simple premise: when you have no money and excessive debt, you cut spending, period. Alas, almost half the republic is too ignorant to see beyond the demagoguery. Republicans denied, children and elders died!

Huckabye-Romney on July 6, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Needs to go viral

cmsinaz on July 6, 2011 at 4:02 PM

What are they fighting over? It’s not whether to pay back even a penny of the trillions owed. All they’re arguing over is whether or not the government should KEEP spending 40% more than it’s taking in, and whether they should begin cannibalizing the economy to cover their debts now or later.

The fact that this discussion is even being seriously undertaken by nearly everyone in Washington proves there’s no hope for the government. No “compromise” that comes from such an insane process can possibly help anything.

logis on July 6, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Should interest rates rise to only 5%, a certainty, the interest on the debt will increase to one trillion dollars per year. As an important point of reference, the federal government collected only about $2.5 trillion in taxes in 2010.

If the interest rate on the debt rose to 12%, which is entirely within the range of possibility, interest costs would completely absorb all taxes – though the financial system would collapse before it got to that point.

Rightyismighty on July 6, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Each incremental adjustment to the debt ceiling likely brings us closer to “our real debt limit” — the point at which debt will overtake GDP.

Our real debt limit is the point at which creditors will not give us any more money. Oh, wait! We’re already past that, as something like 70% of QE2 was intra-governmental paper pushing.

We’re so boned, it’s not even funny.

Aquateen Hungerforce on July 6, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Rule 6 Bill of Lefts explains the problem :

Deficits are a part of life, but that is only a problem for those with money. If the government gives you a credit card for health care or anything, use it as much as you want. The more you use it, the more free things you can expect to get with it in the future.

drfredc on July 6, 2011 at 5:51 PM

I don’t know why someone hasn’t made the obvious comparison to a credit card limit. I hereby offer my idea for free to any GOP member willing to make a commercial.
Show a man receiving a credit card limit and spending up to his limit, but then calling the card company and demanding a higher limit because he needs more debt! As soon as he gets a higher limit on his card, he spends to his limit and again demands a higher limit to the card company, each time arguing that he needs more debt in order to survive! The person on the other end of the phone representing the card company keeps telling him he needs to live within his budget and pay down his debt, etc, but the customer threatens and demands a higher limit.. this scenario keeps getting repeated over and over. Have the voice over point out the folly of this, compare it to congress and the Democrats and Obama! I know it needs some tweeking but the concept is an easy one to grasp.

I think it’s a simple way for people to get the idea. I was a Sears garage last weekend getting a tire repaired and a couple other people and I were watching TV in the waiting area and I gave this illustration. The other people in the room immediately got it and understood what the debt ceiling was all about.

JellyToast on July 6, 2011 at 5:55 PM

The other people in the room immediately got it and understood what the debt ceiling was all about.
JellyToast on July 6, 2011 at 5:55 PM

I think it’s safe to assume they understood it to begin with, and were simply agreeing with you.

This is the sort of thing you can’t just explain to someone. If a fully-grown person doesn’t understand this, it’s not because he missed a day in school somewhere along the line; it’s because he doesn’t WANT to understand it.

If you call your bank and tell them your income just doubled, of course they will happily raise your credit limit. But if you call them and complain that you can’t pay your debt because your monthly expenses are 40% higher than your income, they’ll cut off your credit immediately. Any sane person would.

When fully-grown children (i.e., liberals) can’t see that, it’s not just because the helpful guy standing in line behind them hasn’t pointed it out yet… It’s because they fundamentally reject the concept of property rights. That’s not a simple oversight; it is a religion. And all of its practitioners are fanatics.

logis on July 6, 2011 at 10:17 PM

logis on July 6, 2011 at 10:17 PM

Not to beat my chest or anything, or to continue on about how great my idea I had was. There are a hundred freaking different ways to explain what the debt ceiling is all about. The skyscraper ad above I thought was rather stupid. It actually made the concept harder to understand. When you make a commercial to explain or educate, … when you use an analogy the analogy should be a simpler way to understand a more complicated idea. That’s what analogies are for. To understand the skyscraper commercial you almost need another commercial to explain it.

As for my little story. Oh well, I screwed that one up. I should’ve known they were just a bunch of freaking property rights hating libs or people who already knew the obvious! Thanks for setting me straight. I’ll definitely keep my mouth shut from now on whenever I’m watching propaganda being spewed from CNN or some other show into the minds of a room full of people!

JellyToast on July 7, 2011 at 6:56 AM