Raising the Debt Ceiling


Is raising the debt ceiling essential to our fiscal future? Well, the complete explanation is not what you might expect. Let’s start with a quote from The Hill:

Congress doesn’t have to raise the debt limit. But refusing to do so would have huge consequences for the economy and the Constitution.

If the debt ceiling is not raised, Congress would be left with $120 billion per month in red ink, forcing the administration to take a hatchet to government programs authorized by Congress.

The numbers make the $39.9 billion the White House and Republicans agreed to cut from 2011 spending last week seem like very small potatoes.


The notion here is that raising the debt ceiling is a necessary evil, and we simply couldn’t keep the government going without doing so. The Hill is more or less accurate here, but the inference is not. Let me explain.

First, not raising the debt limit would have huge consequences for the economy and the Constitution, but not negative consequences. While not raising the limit would place some short term strain on the easy flow of government payments, a long term commitment to austerity could be a plus. As for the Constitution, our federal government is engaged in many activities beyond those spelled out in the enumerated powers. Washington could still meet its Constitutional responsibilities without additional revenues.

Second, there would be a need to “take a hatchet” to programs authorized by Congress, but it’s high time that we do this anyway.

Third, I agree that the numbers associated with not raising the ceiling would make the previous $39.9 billion so-called “cut” seem like small potatoes. Frankly, $39.9 billion IS small potatoes. Coming face to face with $120 billion per month in red ink is in our long term best interest.

I don’t oppose raising the debt ceiling IF there are SERIOUS and REAL budget cuts as part of the deal, probably more than most Republicans want to see anyway. This is the ideal scenario, but I certainly don’t think the left is interested in anything substantial. If not, capitulation would be a disaster. Holding firm and NOT raising the debt ceiling would be the only choice.



  1. crg  •  May 11, 2011 @10:48 AM

    I think the republicans aren’t serious and will cave if they get another 39 billion. When they do, the tea party is going to unleash its wrath on them in the primaries.

  2. Chris  •  May 19, 2011 @8:21 PM

    I don’t think anybody up there has the spine to make the right call, but it’s time to take our licks instead of delaying the game forever. We’re going to have to suffer the pain sooner or later, and later will just be even harder than it will be now. Don’t raise it, and figure it out…or the Dems and RINOs will spend us into oblivion.