B²: The Debt Limit Debacle

The United States is close to maxing out its credit card…again.

Yep, the U.S. owes more than $18 trillion ($18 trillion!) and is on track to exhaust its allowance in 2 weeks (November 3).

In an article on CNBC.com, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew made his position clear: “not increasing the debt limit would be ridiculous…” He “insisted that a hike is not a commitment to new spending but an ability to pay the bills on money already spent.”

What Secretary Lew failed to note is the frequency of this discussion. Congress finds itself in this position too often and refuses to address the root cause – out of control spending! In other words, increasing your credit card limit doesn’t force you to stop buying things you can’t afford.

Another interesting point to the debt limit controversy is the pesky fact that the amount the U.S. owes reportedly exceeds what the U.S. produces in goods and services (GDP). Basically, we owe a lot of money, and the amount of money we owe now exceeds what our country can produce. Not good.

As we get closer to the deadline, the news cycle will create a panicky narrative full of questions like: “Where do we go from here?” “Should the limit be raised?” “Are you suggesting we default?”

Are you prepared to talk about the debt limit and offer possible solutions to address the spending issue rather than raise the limit?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “The U.S. runs out of money on November 3. Shouldn’t the debt limit be raised to cover what we owe?”

B²: “Congress has raised it before and they may do so again. But increasing the debt limit doesn’t solve our country’s spending problem, which is the root cause. We’ll find ourselves here in a few months, but with more bills to pay, if we don’t…<insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, insert talking points that put this issue into perspective. Focus on how absurd it is that we’re in this position (AGAIN) and then offer viable solutions to prevent this from happening in the future. Those solutions may be painful, but a nation that owes more than it produces cannot sustain itself.

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