Raising the Roof: Back to The Brink with THE DEBT CEILING

Raising the Roof: Back to The Brink with THE DEBT CEILING

Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,3 September 2013

The Snap:

Get ready to gird your loins; Congress’ 5-week break is almost up and soon we’ll witness the showcase showdowns of self-created crises: THE DEBT CEILING. I feel it is just that ominous that whenever we write about it, it should be all caps. What is THE DEBT CEILING? What happens if we shatter THE DEBT CEILING? Didn’t we just do this? These are all valid questions that I will attempt to answer after I pound my head repeatedly onto my desk in the hopes that I will knock myself unconscious and avoid hearing pundits philosophizing on THE DEBT CEILING, who is responsible and what happens next.

The Download:

Now that I’ve regained consciousness, let’s talk about this latest cray-cray. THE DEBT CEILING is shattering our late summer peace because back in World War I, Congress decided to limit how much the country could borrow. We’ll reach THE DEBT CEILING sometime in mid-October, according to Treasury Secretary and general badass, Jack Lew. However, Congress has already bought a metric buttload of things on credit. If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, we still have to pay for everything Congress bought (like Social Security checks, spending in the budget bills Congress has already passed, staplers, nachos, etc.) we just can’t borrow any money to pay for those things. It won’t shrink the deficit or get us out of paying what we owe.

So John Boehner and other political heavyweights have a plan! They will refuse to raise THE DEBT CEILING unless a virgin is sacrificed under the light of a full moon while Barbara Streisand sings “The Way We Were.” Oh, wait, that’s their plan for something else. They will refuse to raise THE DEBT CEILING unless President Obama agrees to budget cuts equal to the amount THE DEBT CEILING will have to be raised to pay off all of Congress’ obligations. Plus, they want to throw in the sequester to really force the President’s hands.

To this, Jack Lew says, hells to the no! He revealed the White House’s bargaining strategy for this fight is not bargaining at all. The Administration seems to be taking a ballsier approach to this DEBT CEILING crisis than they did to the one we had in 2011. Yes, this is America’s version of Groundhog Day. We’ll fight the same political battles over and over until Bill Murray learns to play the piano for Andie MacDowell.

Nobody really knows what happens if Congress doesn’t raise THE DEBT CEILING. It will impair all government spending (including Social Security and essential services) and force the country to default on what it owes. THE DEBT CEILING crisis in 2011 resulted in the U.S. credit rating being lowered so that also seems likely this time around.

Don’t worry, Congress will spend an exhausting 9 days in session in September and I’m sure in that time they’ll be able to sort out THE DEBT CEILING and pass a budget or yet-another-continuing-resolution before the current resolution expires on 30 September.

 

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Hat Tips:

Washington PostThe AtlanticNew York TimesPoliticoThe Atlantic WireSlateU.S. News and World Report, Image Credit: Flickr



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