By a margin of 2-1, Americans have said in a poll they do not want Congress to raise the debt ceiling to allow more borrowing and spending.
The debt has been frozen at that amount because of an accounting trick Treasury Secretary Jack Lew calls “extraordinary measures.”
The measures have prevented the government from defaulting on its obligations and allowed it to keep borrowing, while maintaining the official debt just $25 million below the legal debt limit set by Congress of $16,699,421,000,000.
The dilemma began May 17, when Lew wrote to Boehner to inform him, having nearly hit the debt limit, the Treasury Department would begin using more extraordinary measures, such as suspending certain pension contributions to “free up approximately $260 billion in headroom under the limit.”
Very simply, the national debt continues to rise because the U.S. Treasury spends more money than it brings in through taxes, fees and other revenue.
Now an NBC poll indicates 44 percent of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling. Only 22 percent support it.
NBC said that “puts the president in the difficult position of needing to make the case for an unpopular policy with a deadline quickly approaching.”
Pollster Bill McInturff, a Republican, told NBC, “People’s first instinct is how fed up they are with Washington and spending.”
It was in 2011 when Obama staged a huge debt-limit fight when conservatives and tea party members wanted to slow down the rate of increase in government spending.
As a result, the nation’s credit was downgraded.
In 2006, Obama himself called a request to raise the debt limit “a sign of leadership failure.”
Amid commenters who called for more borrowing, taxing and spending, “Paul” from New Mexico, wrote on the NBC site: “You know nothing. We are the ones footing the bill. They never cut so this is the only way we have to stop the spending. All the programs and departments progressives love were created less than 50 years ago. Do away with them. They spent trillions and never accomplished their stated goals. Example: The Department of Energy was to stop our reliance on foreign oil. Now between them and the EPA energy costs 3 times what it should.”
WND reported the U.S. government actually hit its $16.4 trillion debt limit at the end of last year, but the Treasury Department began using the extraordinary measures to help delay default until Congress agreed to suspend the debt limit through May 18.
The next day, the debt limit was raised to almost $16.7 trillion.
Lew then announced a way to allow the government to pay its bills until September, then October.
Taxpayer-owned Fannie Mae would make a one-time dividend payment of nearly $60 billion to the U.S. government. Thanks to a housing market recovery, the fortunes of the bailed-out housing finance corporation had improved enough to pay the dividend after posting a record first-quarter profit.
Lew had thought the Treasury Department would stop using the extraordinary measures on Aug. 2.
But on that day, he wrote another letter to Boehner, explaining his new estimate was the government would need to keep using the measures until Oct. 11 to keep borrowing within the legal limit.
The fight has expanded, with many conservatives pledging to support bills keeping essential operations running while providing no funds for the implementation of the massively expensive Obamacare.
The White House is blaming government spending on Congress and says it will refuse to even consider adhering to the debt limit.
“We will not negotiate with Republicans in Congress over Congress’ responsibility to pay the bills that Congress has racked up, period,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney last week.
The NBC poll showed 33 percent didn’t know enough about the issue to decide whether the limit should be raised.
The margin of error for the poll isi plus or minus 3.1 percent.
Other survey questions included whether the nation is on the right track. Only 30 percent said yes. Sixty-two percent said it’s going in the wrong direction.
Also, 50 percent disapprove of Obama’s job in office, while only 45 percent approve. Even more, 52 percent, disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy. And 57 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of the Syria crisis.