The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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October 21, 2013

Debt not gone in debt deal

In my Oct. 11 Your View ("Debt deal will be resolved without default") I suggested the crisis would be settled "...when both parties are willing to agree they can not get everything they want". That was correct. Democrats did not get "everything" and fiscal conservatives got next to nothing.

Initially Democrats demanded the borrowing limit be increased by $1 trillion. In the Reid/McConnell compromise Democrats and the president accepted an increase of about $986 billion, through at least Feb. 7. Trillions and billions are difficult for me to to comprehend when talking about dollars, except that a trillion is one thousand billion. Do the math: $14 billion is a remarkably small percentage concession by Democrats and the president.

The federal government now has authority to borrow up to $986 billion more to pay bills incurred but not paid for with previously borrowed billions, and probably with a significant slush fund remaining. But it is good the crisis is settled for a few months, provided that time is used to work out a deficit reduction deal and federal budget for the fiscal year.

So remain optimistic, fiscal conservatives. After all, during negotiations President Obama told us that increasing the borrowing limit does not need to increase the current $16.8 trillion national debt? If that is true, borrowing money without increasing debt would be a trick peculiar to the federal government.


Bob Jentges

North Mankato

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