President Obama says that raising the debt limit doesn't increase our debt. He's right, in the same way that raising the limit on your personal credit card doesn't increase your personal debt. Raiding the debt limit is a necessary condition for increasing our national debt, but the debt only actually increases when we spend the money.
What the big spenders in government object to is that the debt limit debate is a second vote on spending that is divorced from the specifics of what the money is spent on. Our politicians like to bribe us with our own money by promising all sorts of great programs every time they write a check. When the debate is on the debt limit itself rather than on those "amazing" government programs they have a harder time convincing us.
"Now, this debt ceiling -- I just want to remind people in case you haven't been keeping up -- raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy. All it does is it says you got to pay the bills that you've already racked up, Congress. It's a basic function of making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved."
Obama went on to suggest that "the average person" mistakenly thinks that raising the debt ceiling means the U.S. is racking up more debt:
"It's always a tough vote because the average person thinks raising the debt ceiling must mean that we're running up our debt, so people don't like to vote on it, and, typically, there's some gamesmanship in terms of making the President's party shoulder the burden of raising the -- taking the vote."
The President is right, and rather honest in admitting that he doesn't like the spotlight that the debt limit debates puts on our wasteful spending. Still, I think it's a useful function.