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A New Kind of Responsibility

3:43 PM, Jan 3, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Having avoided the "fiscal cliff," we will now be in jeopardy of breaking our necks when we collide with the "debt ceiling." The responsible thing to do, we are already being told by the New York Times is ... to raise the ceiling:

Letting the Treasury run out of borrowing authority would mean a default on the nation’s credit, a catastrophic prospect for holders of government bonds around the world. It could result in further credit downgrades and lead to sharply higher borrowing costs. It is an unimaginable prospect for a responsible country, yet it almost happened in 2011 because of the irresponsibility of Congressional Republicans.

We can expect to hear a lot about "responsibility" in the coming days.  But somehow the word will not be attached to the way that Washington spends money ... which is mostly by first borrowing it.  And the money is not "invested" in ways that will work to the benefit of future generations.  It is, as Christopher DeMuth lucidly explains, used to finance current consumption of the sort to which many Americans have come to feel entitled.  The costs of this borrowing will be borne by future generations.  We are, in other words, sticking our children and grandchildren with the bills.

But in a "responsible" way, don't you know.  For which future generations are certain to be grateful.

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