CNN Money recently posted an article about how the United States “debt limit” will hit its limit today.
What is the debt ceiling exactly? It’s a cap set by Congress on the amount of debt the federal government can legally borrow. The cap applies to debt owed to the public (i.e., anyone who buys U.S. bonds) plus debt owed to federal government trust funds such as those for Social Security and Medicare.
Unfortunately, this number is continually raised with each tax cut or spending hike. It’s like taking a budget and lying to yourself every time you go “over budget” by saying “We’ll cancel our cable subscription, and that will give us an extra $70 for going out to eat every month”. Robbing Paul to pay Peter.
Why does Congress even bother to set a debt limit? In theory, the limit is supposed to help Congress control spending. In reality, it doesn’t.
Every time the debt limit needs to be raised, lawmakers and the president are forced to take stock of the country’s fiscal direction, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily.
…except that we never do take stock in our fiscal direction. Nothing seems to be changing, and the general public seems apathetic about the whole thing. Some days I wish people would just stand up and say “I’m not going to take it anymore” and actually make the changes necessary to get this country back on track. We built a country for the people and gave people a vote to make changes. So why aren’t there changes being made?