Our opinion: Urgency lacking with debt ceiling

The U.S. inches closer to its debt ceiling as the Biden Administration and the Republican majority in Congress slowly try to reach a compromise. As the Associated Press details, reaching an unresolved debt ceiling could tip businesses into bankruptcy, sink pensions and 401k plans and cause lasting economic pain.

The Republicans want a commitment to spending cuts — which, as we’ve editorialized before, with a national debt of about $31.4 trillion, is entirely reasonable. The White House unfortunately has been resistant to spending cuts.

Yet rather than dwell again on our case for cutting profligate national spending, we must note that the Associated Press also reports President Joe Biden’s plan to veto reinstatement of tariffs on solar power components from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia.

Tariffs are one tool the U.S. has to increase revenue. Tariffs also apply pressure to manufacturers regarding where they locate jobs — in the U.S., or in countries less conducive to labor rights and a decent standard of living for working families.

And yet, even as the U.S. continues to spend more than it takes in, even as the Biden Administration resists negotiating on modest cuts to spending, even as it treats the excessively costly and unilaterally pursued student debt relief plan as outside the boundaries of compromise and even as further revising or refining work requirements for assistance programs is treated as similarly off the proverbial table, the White House also plans to reject tariffs — and the revenue they produce — applied to goods from countries perhaps best known as havens for sweatshop conditions.

The White House’s obliviousness to the need for less spending or more revenue — probably both — is deeply troubling.


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