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The 2013 US Government Debt Deal is Similar to what happened to the American Colonies after the Revolutionary War

Updated on October 15, 2017

The essay is a historical comparison between the two events

The debt deal back in 2013 that both Democrats and Republicans came to after the federal government was shut down for 16 days is similar to what this country was facing after its victory against Great Britain in the American Revolution. This short essay will also discuss what this debt deal at the time would mean for the country going forward. But we will first discuss the debt deal and some of the specifics of it.

A photo of Former US President Barack Obama (2009-2017)

Former President Barack Obama had been under scrutiny and never really given much of a chance during his presidency. The debt problem is not his fault.
Former President Barack Obama had been under scrutiny and never really given much of a chance during his presidency. The debt problem is not his fault.

Four major points of the debt deal

In an article written by authors Leslie Bentz and Dand Ford on October 17, 2013 for CNN’s website called “Quick Read: Key points of the new debt deal,” there are four major points that the article discusses in terms of this new deal at the time that was reached. First, this country’s government could keep on spending money until January 15, 2014. Second, as a result of this debt deal, the Treasury Department has just enough money to allow the government to pay its bills, after which there has to be a fight and struggle to raise the debt ceiling yet again. The third major point mentioned in the article is that the Republican Party scored what was referred to as a “small win” when they got their say, allowing insurance companies to confirm the income of those people that were requesting health care subsidies. The fourth major point that the article discusses is that those federal workers whose wages were withheld during the shutdown will be receiving back pay, much like what I learned in my social science class that I took in the Fall of 2013 at Glendale Community College when it was discussed that after the American Revolution, the new nation owed back pay to its soldiers. From the article, we can infer and conclude that our current government is weak and very much in debt. This is very similar to the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation which was the first form of government for the new nation. Note: the debt deal may be old news now but it puts into perspective the federal government’s inability to compromise until what seems like the last minute.

A photo of the first page of the Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation was the first form of government for the United States after the victory in the American Revolution.
The Articles of Confederation was the first form of government for the United States after the victory in the American Revolution. | Source

The Articles of Confederation and how it is similar to what happened in 2013

The Articles of Confederation as students of American history will find out was a weak type of government which the new nation wanted. To put it another way, those that fought for independence did not want a strong government and did not want to be taxed heavily. In those days, war caused them to spend lots of money and we needed a way to pay back all of the debt. During this time period, there were also disagreements between political parties. The Federalist Party which consisted of famous people like George Washington and John Adams, tried to make their point through the Federalist Papers, a huge document of 85 essays which brought across the message that government is the friend of the people. The Anti-Federalists on the other hand were against the government, much like the current Republican Party is against whatever Obama tries to do, most famously they tried desperately to defund or repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act also known as Obamacare. Why would anyone want to support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act at a time when there are so many people that could benefit from it? That is an excellent question to raise especially because this author has a preexisting condition (cerebral palsy).

Some more historical perspective about the 2013 debt deal

Although I have said previously that it is the policies of the current Republican Party that have left our economy in the shape that it is in, we certainly need to address the issue of our national debt and take steps to reduce it. As part of the debt deal which first made news in October 2013, the debt limit would be extended until February 7, 2014. Reducing our debt and improving upon a fragile American economy is going to require the participation of both major parties. The Congress participated to a certain degree, however. The deal was thought up by two main people in the US government. They are then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The government shutdown that ensued was the first major shutdown since the Clinton Administration. The interesting thing is that in both cases, the Executive Branch was in charge of the Democrats! One very important thing that the debt deal ensured is that the United States would be prevented from defaulting on its debt.

Although the US Senate voted in favor of the deal there was still opposition to it by people such as Ted Cruz!

The US Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of the new debt deal by a margin of 81-18. Among those that voted against this deal were the second most powerful Republican leader in the Senate, John Cornyn of Texas and Ted Cruz (one of the candidates that was seeking the GOP nomination for President). The House of Representatives took their step to make way for the legislation to be signed. In a 285-144 vote, the House of Representatives gave their approval. However, Congress relied on mostly the support from Democrats to get the deal done. Then Speaker of the House John Boehner had tried everything that he could to lead the fight to defund Obamacare. But this deal makes no changes to Obamacare. Senator John McCain of Arizona remarked that it was one of the more “shameful chapters” that he has ever seen. In spite of the agreement reached by Congress thus reopening our federal government, the deal only delays the inevitable which is the discussion on what to do raise the debt ceiling once again. In spite of the debt deal that was reached, the Republicans won both houses of Congress following the 2014 mid-term elections.

In spite of the debt deal that was reached, most people say that the country is going in the wrong direction

And if that was not bad enough for the then Obama Administration, a recent CNN/ORC poll conducted in May 2015 found that 52% of the US public say that the country is going in the wrong direction. These are tough times indeed. However, if history is any indication, the United States has always been strong enough to bounce back as a country. This has been true whether it was weakened because of the Great Depression, World War 2, or even the Civil War. I say this partially because of my Pollyanna attitude towards the world. Any change takes time but the current times are more than likely going to take a lot longer to change.

A video explaining what the debt ceiling is and why people should care


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