Crisis adverted; debt ceiling compromise reached.
This isn’t about politics, it’s not a lesson in macroeconomics, it’s just reality.
The news, for the past few weeks, has been Debt Ceiling all day every day. It is now such a routine annual occurrence I’m not sure anyone even notices it anymore – that’s a whole lot scary.
What is the debt ceiling really?
In the United States, the debt ceiling or debt limit is a legislative limit on the amount of national debt that can be incurred by the U.S. Treasury, thus limiting how much money the federal government may pay by borrowing more money, on the debt it already borrowed.
The debt ceiling is an aggregate figure that applies to gross debt, which includes debt in the hands of the public and intra-government accounts. Because expenditures are authorized by separate legislation, the debt ceiling does not directly limit government deficits. In effect, it can only restrain the Treasury from paying for expenditures and other financial obligations after the limit has been reached, but which have already been approved (in the budget) and appropriated.
If you read the definition above the elected officials sent to Washington to do “the peoples work” are now negotiating, on our behalf, to determine a how much additional debt they feel is necessary to allow the government to continue to incur debt. I had to look, US expenditures have exceeded income 46 of the past 50 years, 1971 to 2021)!
On average, during this 50-year period, the US Government has operated at a 22.51% deficit. Wow, how long can you do this before it blows up in someone’s face? A private citizen certainly can’t. Business, not a chance. A private citizen would be homeless and any business that operated at a loss 92% of the time certainly wouldn’t survive long, certainly not fifty years.
I think it’s long past the time we said enough.
Maybe the adage “Living Within Your Means” should apply to how our elected officials do their jobs as well.
Maybe Politics as a life-long career is not the best answer. Life expectancy was 35 years old in 1776, today it’s 79. The minimum age required to run for a seat in the US house is 25, for the US Senate it’s 30.
When the US Constitution was ratified that would have translated to an average tenure of 10 years, more or less. We now have some members of Congress in office for decades. Of the top 120 longest serving members of Congress the member with the shortest service recorded an amazing 36 years in office.
Rather than the annual political grandstanding and posturing on debt ceiling talks we would be served finding a solution to the negligent overspending our country has become known for. Perhaps it’s time to put an end to the partisanship that has divided this country for decades and look back a few thousand years “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”, Aristotle.