To the Editor,

According to the government website, Debt to the Penny, as of Dec. 7, the USA is $16,365,370,575,377.43 in debt. The “debt ceiling” is currently set at $16.394 trillion, and at the current rate of spending, the general government will be bumping up against that ceiling in early February 2013. What can be done to arrest this out of control spending? Until something changes, the House of Representatives still controls the purse strings and will have to agree to any increase to the limit. What can the Republicans do; where is their leverage?

Many Democrats will argue that the debt limit must be raised every time it is needed, that even Ronald Reagan raised the debt ceiling 18 times during his presidency. This is true; the debt was raised in eight years a total of $1,815,000,000,000, or approximately $227 billion a year. The average debt limit increase during the Reagan years was less than a month’s worth of debt incurred in 2012.

This is the leverage the Republican House has: get the Democrats and the White House to agree to REAL spending cuts with an increase to the debt limit in 30-day chunks. If the Congressional Republican leaders are serious, they will stand up to the President, call his bluff, and show him they have a spine.

Instead of giving in and growing the debt by the amount President Reagan and the Democrat Congress of the 80’s in one fell swoop, they should increase it — but ONLY if necessary — in the small increments of that era, or about $100 billion every 5 or 6 months. It is in their power; it is up to the leadership to decide to do the right thing.

I hate to say it, but my money is still on the Republicans caving in, kicking the can, and strapping the unborn with a continued out of control federal debt.

Bill Carson,

Midlothian