The question for tonight’s debate is will moderators ask Ben Carson to explain the debt ceiling and his vow to never raise it? ‘Cuz I really want to hear this one.
2016 Republican candidate Ben Carson, who political journalists keep telling you is so brilliant, doesn’t know what the debt ceiling is or how it works. Thus, it was pretty easy for him to vow never to raise it.
In an interview with The Hill reported by Jonathan Easley, Carson is quoted revealing his ignorance- which, mind you, will be on full display this evening during the Republican debate, especially since he has polled ahead of Donald Trump in Iowa in the last three polls.
First he said he wouldn’t “sign any budget deal that raised the debt ceiling if he is elected president.”
“If I’m elected, in January of 2017, we will begin to address the budget immediately,” Carson said. “We’re not going to wait until October or November to do it when we’re backed against the wall. And I will make it very, very clear that there will not be any budget signed that increases our debt ceiling. It will have to be done.”
Carson is going to address the budget in January when the fiscal year doesn’t end until September 30. The Republican candidate appears to have no idea how the budget process works. He doesn’t understand that the President doesn’t write or pass the budget. So he is planning to address in January something that he has no power over.
Clearly not understanding how we got here or that this isn’t the process that is usually used and it has been implemented by Republicans in an attempt to hold the economy hostage in order to get what they want in the age of sequestration, Carson was confused about why Congress waits every year to raise the debt ceiling.
“They do the same thing every year. They wait until their backs are up against the wall and the gun is to their head, and you either raise the debt ceiling or we default and the world falls apart.”
Carson doesn’t seem to understand that the gun is loaded long before we get to the date of raising the debt ceiling, and that the debt ceiling used to be raised without fuss because it pays off things that were negotiated during the budget debates.
Where are the budget debates? Oh, they’re hiding under Paul Ryan and the Republican conservatives’ sequestration skirt. AKA, their holy grail to starve government. The thing of which they were so proud The thing that ended any debate and allowed them to do things like hold the country hostage.
Carson called this process “craziness”. On this, we agree. But it’s rather disconcerting that he doesn’t know how we got here or what the usual process is. Carson told The Hill he thinks it should be addressed at the beginning of the period, when they would have “other options”.
Yeah, there are no other options than paying off our debt. That’s not how the debt ceiling works.
Conservatives seem to think the debt ceiling is the decision to spend money, no matter how many times it is explained to them. They are deeply offended by the idea of paying for things they have already used. This is so antithetical to the beliefs a true fiscal conservative would have that it should be alerting the buried-in-the-weeds beltway media that something is wrong with Republicans.
Alleged fiscal conservatives who don’t want to raise the Treasury’s borrowing limit in order to pay their legislative bills are backing the dude who promises to never raise the debt ceiling to pay our bills. Small government conservatives are backing the guy who thinks he would have control and power over all of this. The party of “ideas” is backing the guy who doesn’t understand even the most basic facts about the budget or branches of government.
Ben Carson is sort of Sarah Palin with an MD. Just because someone is a former neurosurgeon doesn’t mean they know anything about life or government. Carson himself credits his hand-eye coordination and spatial reasoning in part for his success as a surgeon. Certainly he has a compelling life story and has made much of himself, rising up from poverty to become a surgeon at a top hospital. And Republicans have a thing for doctors – they elevate them to near God status. Just look through the legislatures in the South- they are stocked with doctors. Doctors who often know absolutely nothing about policy, government, legislation, or the issues at hand.
Ben Carson is a top-polling Republican candidate for president who doesn’t even know what the debt ceiling is or who is in charge of the budget or when. This is your modern day Republican party. It’s not a one-off.
This kind of blatant ignorance should be embarrassing, but since the other top Republican choice is Donald Trump, it’s sadly not embarrassing for Republicans, but rather preferred. This is what happens when a party platform doesn’t actually help or serve most Americans. The puppetry keeps getting more and more exaggerated until Carson and Trump are the front-runners.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.