Can we claim national identity theft?

This is mostly a formality, since Congress never fails to authorize such requests from Treasury, but it’s worth noting that the request appeared. Again. Consider:

Treasury Secretary John Snow notified Congress on Monday that the administration has now taken “all prudent and legal actions,” including tapping certain government retirement funds, to keep from hitting the $8.2 trillion national debt limit.

In a letter to Congress, Snow urged lawmakers to pass a new debt ceiling immediately to avoid the nation’s first-ever default on its obligations.

We’re spending ourselves into oblivion. Nothing new to see here, folks. This is what happens when Congress spends and the president encourages it. Of special importance, though, is the amusing manner in which the Treasury is plugging the hole until Congress intervenes. We can’t default, so it’s better to use raid the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and the Government Securities Investment Fund of the Federal Employees Retirement System. They’ll get paid back, and all that, but it reveals a lot about the sanctity of trust funds managed by the government, no?

Two quotes from the story merit attention:

“Simply raising the limit on George W. Bush’s credit card and crossing our fingers won’t solve anything,” [Charles] Rangel, D-N.Y., said in a statement. “Any long-term debt limit increase must be accompanied by a serious effort to bring our budget back to the balance we achieved under the Clinton administration.”

The credit card may be signed by President Bush, but the purchases are made by Congress. Glass houses, Rep. Rangel. Glass houses.

On a side note, I’m sure this need for fiscal sanity is one example of why President Bush wants the line item veto.

“I know that you share the president’s and my commitment to maintaining the full faith and credit of the U.S. government,” Snow said in his letter to leaders in the House and Senate.