Editorial:

Hitting the debt ceiling again

Posted 1/19/23

Here we go again.

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has advised Congress and the president that the debt ceiling —the amount of debt that the U.S. is authorized to take on — will …

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Editorial:

Hitting the debt ceiling again

Posted

Here we go again.

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has advised Congress and the president that the debt ceiling —the amount of debt that the U.S. is authorized to take on — will need to be raised. Again.

The current level of the federal government debt ceiling is $31.4 trillion, and the clock on the national debt is spinning so fast that the treasury secretary says that it will be exhausted within the month. 

If it seems like this is a repeat performance, that’s because it is. The debt ceiling was last raised in December of 2021 by $2.5 trillion.

In simplest terms, when the government spends more than it takes in during a budget cycle, that’s a budget deficit. The national debt is the accumulation of each year’s budget deficit.

Since the year 2000, those deficits, and the debt, have piled high. And it’s not just one president and one party.

Through the George Bush, Obama, Trump and now Biden years, the national debt has grown more than $25 trillion. There’s always a reason, or a demand for increased federal spending, whether it be the War on Terror, a crippling recession, the Covid pandemic or even the advancing debt total itself. The larger debt affects the succeeding year’s budget deficit, thanks to higher interest rate payments.   

So, how to break the cycle?  Show some grit.

President Joe Biden wants to see the debt ceiling raised without conditions. It’s simply something that must be done, he reasons.

And he’s probably right that raising the debt ceiling carries must-pass weight. But not without conditions.

The Republican majority in the House has a say in this. Even if it’s just agreement to hold spending at 2022 levels in exchange for their support, Republicans in Congress need to make a stand to stop the trend of a trillion dollars a year deeper in debt.

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