Senator Kent Conrad is--not without reason--known on the Hill as a man who knows his way around budgets. He is an adult on budget issues, and he takes our nation's debt seriously--very seriously. Some on our side of the aisle would be repelled by some remedies Conrad pushes--but in the main, he strikes a fairly good balance between budget cutting and tax increasing.
He's coming out swinging now (not running for re-election, natch), pushing the Vice President and his debt control confab to cut deeper--not $2T but at least $4T. In the course of his activities, he has fairly well articulated support for the strategy most Republicans advocate vis-a-vis the debt ceiling. The President and his people would prefer a clean raise to the debt ceiling--claiming that making a rise contingent upon spending cuts (as desired by Republicans) hazards financial markets and "plays politics" with the fiscal reputation of the United States. Republicans disagree, recognizing that absent the debt ceiling cudgel, there would be little incentive on the Dems side to actually DO anything about debt. Into the discussion steps Kent Conrad in this morning's WaPost: "But Conrad argued that all incentive will be lost once the debt ceiling is raised.
“If they reach an agreement and that passes and the debt limit then does not have to be dealt with until after next year’s election, there will be very little appetite here to come back and do what really has to be done to get our financial house in order,” he said."
Now that we all agree on that--let's start to cut some spending, shall we?