Coburn is at odds with Norquist and his “no new taxes” pledge and with Cruz and his insistence on using the budget debate to address Obamacare. But, again, this is a battle about strategy, not substance.
Moving on then to the coming debt-ceiling debate. This week, former President Bill Clinton explained it this way: The debt ceiling is actually two votes. The first is the vote to spend beyond what can be covered within the present debt ceiling, so that raising it becomes necessary.
I get that. So, the only responsible action is: Stop spending before you reach the limit of the debt ceiling. Government has to pay its debts; it can fund that priority from within the present budget, though other things will have to be cut. Maybe this will discourage politicians from spending more than we can afford during the new budget year.
One final debt number: The total unfunded liability of the United States is almost $126 trillion. If you don’t like the idea of a government shutdown, imagine a government collapse under the weight of ever-increasing debt.
Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is president of Citizens For Limited Taxation and a Salem News columnist.