Republicans Eager to Raise Debt Limit

Operation Bankrupt Washington continues:

Republicans want a larger, $800 billion increase in the politically sensitive federal debt limit to ensure the Treasury has sufficient borrowing authority to finance continued high budget deficits , the Wall Street Journal reports.

House and Senate Republicans had calculated that they needed an increase of $690 billion to cover funding needs, but party leaders now have chosen to seek the higher figure intended to carry the Treasury .

The increase would be the third in as many years and bring the debt limit to $8.184 trillion — 37% higher than the ceiling that President Bush inherited in 2001.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine loaned me his homebrewing kit and showed me how to use it. We cooked up my first batch of Homespun Brew — a pale ale that, remarkably enough, tastes just like beer.

The federal excise tax on beer comes to about a nickle per bottle (that doesn’t count state excise taxes, sales taxes and state-mandated bottle deposit fees). If you were to drink a six pack every day, you’d contribute a little more than a hundred dollars to the feds over the course of the year. So this is small change compared to the income tax or the payroll tax.

Still, I like the symbolism of home brewing tax-free beer. It reminds me a bit of the American colonists’ switch from tea to coffee in order to foil the British tax on tea, or of Gandhi’s campaign to encourage people to spin their own cloth and harvest their own salt rather than pay the British monopoly. Gandhi’s campaign had a value that went beyond its bottom-line pounds-and-pence figure. Spending the time spinning cloth was a way of consciously participating on a daily basis in the resistance — wearing the homespun cloth was a way of broadcasting your commitment to those around you.

And besides, brewing beer is fun and when you’re done you’ve got beer!