Saturday, September 11, 2021

In Context: The National Debt Limit

Of the many issues facing Congress this month, there's one that affects them all: the debt ceiling.

The United States debt limit has never been allowed to have its intended effect on Congress.

Every time U.S. Federal spending has come near the statutory limit, the limit has either been raised, suspended, or precipitated a crisis that led to the sequester. Spending increases have usually been gradual, relatively speaking, and the proverbial frog in the pot has not noticed the water is coming to a boil.

In a single year, in response to the coronavirus, federal spending increases are no longer gradual. The supplemental spending now proposed rivals the size of all annual federal spending, a noticeably significant portion of the entire U.S. economy.

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