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The Debt Ceiling, or, fuck the heck?

So. The news is still on about the debt ceiling, so I just wanted to throw something out there—for a while, I kept hearing the credit card analogy, that this was like increasing our credit card limit, or alternately like this was paying off our credit card bill. It seems to me that the credit card analogy actually goes something like this:

You have a credit card, and in addition, you are the bank that issues the credit card, both. You (as the consumer) went to BiggieMaX and bought ten thousand dollars worth of stuff. The clerk at BiggieMaX put the credit card through the machine, and you (as the bank) told them that it was approved. Now, as a consumer you actually only had a maximum line of eight thousand dollars, but as the bank you were able to waive that maximum for yourself as a consumer, because frankly you are always borrowing more and more money, and yet you make a pretty good living and have always paid up on time. Plus, you have known yourself since you were small, and you are good people. So you assure the BiggieMaX clerk (through the machine) that this is an approved transaction.

Now, you (as the bank) are having a board meeting trying to decide whether to actually pay that money to BiggieMaX. Yes, you (as the bank) authorized the purchase, and yes, you (as the customer) did walk away with the goods and take them home. But really, now that it’s Monday, doesn’t it seem like a lot of money?

Now, I’m sure that credit cards don’t work like that, and I’m sure that the government doesn’t work like that—but we have already agreed to spend the money, and we have already put the full faith and proverbial that we will pay that money, and we have largely already received the stuff the money is for, and now we are seriously trying to decide whether to actually pay it? Seriously? I mean, seriously?

I don’t think that governments should be run like businesses, on the whole, and I’m not even convinced that businesses should be run as businesses, but… seriously? We’re seriously unable to get legislative agreement that we should pay for the things we have already bought?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Who is this "we" you speak of? If the Republicans in Congress had any conception of themselves as having responsibility as part of a "we" that is the People of the United States, "we" wouldn't have any trouble getting the legislative agreement you think of.

A few years ago, I stopped offering credit to my commercial customers because too many of them do not feel they should pay for the things they have already bought. My stress level dropped, since I no longer had to chase customers for payment and I didn't have to worry about which ones might be declaring bankruptcy next. I also lost orders specifically because of this, because businesses don't like the idea that they should be forced to pay for the things they are buying and not have the later choice of whether to pay for the things they have already bought.

On the flip side, as a commercial customer myself, I find that choice very important. I used that choice last week to resolve a lingering issue which was not addressed until the vendor's billing department had to become involved in order to get paid.

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