A Couple of Questions on the Debt Ceiling
What’s the point of a debt ceiling if Congress is going to spend in such a way as to make changing it obligatory? And shouldn’t it require a vote to change the debt ceiling before enacting policies that will certainly exceed it?
The federal debt is limited to $14.3 trillion, but the debt now stands at nearly $13.9 trillion and is growing daily. Congress last raised the debt ceiling in February 2010 and is expected to consider raising it again as early as March. …
Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said that refusing to raise the debt ceiling would essentially push the country into defaulting on its financial obligations for the first time in its history.
“The impact on the economy would be catastrophic,” Goolsbee told “This Week” on ABC. “That would be a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008.”
I don’t believe Goolsbee’s analysis; the U.S. government and the U.S. economy are not (yet) synonymous. Holding legislators and executives to a maximum budget — and the debt ceiling is a fail-safe beyond an actual in-the-black budget — will just require them to change their policies and reduce their waste. If they refuse to do these two things, then they are the ones causing the catastrophe.