In een interview op Democray Now! kwam gisteren de oorsprong van het Amerikaanse schuldenplafond ter sprake:
AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you, Michael Hudson, how the debt ceiling was put into place to begin with? In fact, it was linked to the military, right?
MICHAEL HUDSON: It was put in in 1917 during World War I, and the idea was to prevent President Wilson from committing even more American troops and money to war. In every country of Europe—England, France—the parliamentary control over the budget was introduced to stop ambitious kings or rulers from waging wars. So the whole purpose was to limit a government’s ability to run into debt for war, because that was the only reason that governments ran into debt. Almost all governments, for hundreds of years, have been in balance in their domestic spending. War is what pushes up debt, as it has done in the United States.
Ironie ten top dus: Obama kreeg vorig jaar van zijn parlement geen budget om troepen terug te trekken. Wanneer bijkomend geld nodig is om de oorlogen (Irak, Afghanistan, Libië) in gang te houden, dwingt datzelfde parlement hem tot bezuinigingen in sociale voorzieningen. En dat door middel van wetgeving die de eigen bevolking en economie wilde beschermen tegen al te kostelijke oorlogen!
Hoger in dezelfde bron relativeert Hudson de hele drukte tot een pre-electorale opportuniteit (ook elders op Democracy Now!):
MICHAEL HUDSON: (…) Well, the real question is the reverse. How did these tax issues get attached to a debt ceiling issue? Since 1963, the debt ceiling has been raised every eight months, on the average. It’s just automatically been raised. Nobody in any of these 83 times has ever tried to attach a policy rider to the debt ceiling. It’s always been like an accountant just signing off on everything. This is the first time that a debt ceiling has ever been linked to tax policy.