Philip Maddocks: Debt ceiling, economy meet to work out their own deal
The debt ceiling and the economy met privately yesterday, saying they had decided to work out their own deal for raising the country’s debt limit and stimulating its foundering economy.
“We had a very frank conversation,” the debt ceiling said as the two powerbrokers left their meeting at the White House. “I thought it was productive. I’m looking forward to more serious conversations about how we deal with the immediate problems of the federal debt limit and the lack of jobs out there.”
The meeting comes after the House overwhelmingly rejected a measure to increase the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit, which must be raised by Aug. 2.
“We had decided to let the elected officials have a go at it — and we had certainly hoped for the best — but I think we both knew, deep down, that it would come to this,” said the debt ceiling.
The economy said yesterday that it and the debt ceiling would definitely reach an agreement within the next month that would combine all of the nation’s best interests and none of the political sound bites into a rigorous proposal “we can all live with.”
“We are serious about getting it done, and this isn’t that hard to do,” the debt ceiling said. “The only way this doesn’t get done is if we leave it to the legislators. That won’t happen. We’ve been there. Done that. And it hasn’t worked. Now it’s in our hands. Everyone can rest easy and look forward to a new job and a new house.”
The debt ceiling and economy said they had offered to sit in with a bipartisan team of lawmakers from the House and Senate that has been meeting with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to fashion a budget agreement that could clear the way for a vote to raise the debt limit, but they weren’t surprised when no one showed any interest in having them at the table. The two said they hadn’t had any discussions with the White House about involving the president in their negotiations.
“We came to the decision, finally, that it would be a lot easier on everyone if we just did the job ourselves,” said the economy.
The debt ceiling and the economy said that like most everyone else they were a little surprised — and a bit disappointed — that lawmakers had let the impasse over raising the debt ceiling go as far as it had, but assured the public that it was always their intention to step in before the legislature could do any lasting damage.
Both the debt ceiling and the economy left open the possibility of having the lawmakers continue to battle over raising the debt ceiling and stimulating the economy even after the debt ceiling and economy had put their plan in place.
“It would be practice for them,” the economy said. “The legislators could engage themselves. I’m willing to see them do it. The debt ceiling is willing to see them do it. We’re ready. They should have this conversation. At some point they need to all sit down and clear the air.”
The debt ceiling and the economy said they had sent a letter to the Legislature requesting that members of both chambers refrain from demagogy about the implications of not raising the debt ceiling or about the health of the economy.
“We simply described to them precisely what it is we are, so that they hear from us how we work, so that in the future, they won’t mischaracterize us,” the debt ceiling said.
The two said they had also sent a letter to Moody’s Investors Service warning the company to upgrade the United States government’s sterling credit rating.
The American public has suffered enough, the economy said, adding that it is time for the leaders “to step up by standing down.”
“I think we can all learn from this experience,” said the debt ceiling. “Certainly I never imagined that so much damage could be done in the name of me.”
Philip Maddocks can be reached at email@example.com.