With a possible federal default looming, President Barack Obama used a portion of a recent news conference to explain exactly what was at stake if Congress didn’t move to lift the limit on how much the federal government can borrow.  In short, the situation is this: If Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, the nation won’t be able to borrow any more money to finance the existing financial commitments Congress and the president have agreed to. For months, the Treasury Department has used “extraordinary measures” — essentially, shifting around accounts in order to keep more cash available for payments — but these measures are expected to run out in mid-October. A failure to make payments would be expected to prompt a cascade of problems for the economy.  [3] In a speech at the Business Roundtable headquarters in Washington, D.C., Obama dismissed concerns about raising the debt ceiling by reminding everybody that it’d been done so many times in the past… and what he said next, in what can only be described as a “free-style” display of sophistry, had the entire nation baffled:

Now, this debt ceiling — I just want to remind people in case you haven’t been keeping up — raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy. All it does is it says you got to pay the bills that you’ve already racked up, Congress. It’s a basic function of making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved. [3]

Obama went on to suggest that “the average person” mistakenly thinks that raising the debt ceiling means the U.S. is racking up more debt:

It’s always a tough vote because the average person thinks raising the debt ceiling must mean that we’re running up our debt, so people don’t like to vote on it, and, typically, there’s some gamesmanship in terms of making the President’s party shoulder the burden of raising the — taking the vote. [3]

But, isn’t the fact that the U.S. has hit its debt ceiling “over a hundred times” – and, thus, has had to keep raising it – proof that raising the limit does, in fact, lead to increased debt?  Politifact went to enormous lenght trying to “justify” the unjustifiable, going as far as to say: “Experts we spoke to agreed that Obama is on safe ground when he says that raising the debt ceiling “does not increase our debt. It does not grow our deficits.” [3]  So, from this twisted point of view,  “Obama is correct that the debt ceiling addresses debt, not spending — at least not directly.” [3] But of course all of this is pure plays on words, an illusion thrown at the press by a master sophist who want people to waste their time on semantic instead of real issues. Even Politifact had to at least admit: The part where Obama is somewhat misleading is when he says that raising the debt ceiling “does not allow for a single dime of increased spending.” [3] So, contrary to what Obama said, if the the debt ceiling is raised high enough, it does, in fact, “allow” for additional spending. It just doesn’t demand it. [3] They said that they asked the White House for comment but didn’t hear back from them. [3]

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[2] Louis Jacobson, Does raising the debt ceiling “increase our debt”?, Politifacts, Monday, October 14th, 2013 at 3:44 p.m
[3] Neil Irwin, Does raising the debt ceiling increase the debt?, The Washington Post, October 8, 2013
[4] Daniel Greenfield, Obama: “Raising the Debt Ceiling… Does Not Increase Our Debt”, Frontpage Mag, September 21, 2013
[5] Rick Moran, Obama to the American people: Raising the debt ceiling doesn’t increase debt, American Thinker, September 19, 2013
[6] Obama: “Raising The Debt Ceiling, It Doesn’t Cost A Dime”, Real Clear Politics, September 20, 2013
[7] Obama: “Raising Debt Ceiling Does Not Increase Our Debt”, RushLimbauch.com, September 19, 2013

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Bill Wallace is a self-fashioned writter, a computer programmer and cybermarketer from Quebec City, Canada who decided to enter the political arena after his disillusionment with the socialist system under which he was living in the french canadian province of Quebec.

Bill Wallace

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