The Debt Ceiling Is a Noble Idea - Daniel Indiviglio - Business - The Atlantic
The Real Disgrace: The Political Process
Maybe it should just be killed. It makes more sense than all the sturm und drangst bull**** of the past several weeks. Then we can return to the republicans refusing to budge without the Sword of Damocles hanging over us.And yet, that's exactly what's happening right now. The argument against the debt ceiling goes something like this: it's crazy that there's a debt ceiling, because it may cause the U.S. to default when there are plenty of investors who are perfectly happy to buy more debt from us. It makes the nation look like it's in as dire straits as other countries that actually cannot borrow more money because their creditworthiness is trashed.
So is the debt ceiling a horrible idea after all? Blaming the debt ceiling for the problems that Washington is experiencing right now is sort of like blaming a gun for murdering someone. The debt ceiling was merely an object through which the real problem manifested itself. The potential poison is not the debt ceiling, but the political process itself.
If the U.S. ends up defaulting later this year, it isn't because a debt ceiling is in place -- it's because Congress couldn't find a way to agree to a plan that would raise the ceiling while ensuring that the unsustainable path of U.S. borrowing eventually comes to an end. The problem is politics, not the law.
And what so many now consider poison may turn out to be an antidote. If the debt ceiling debate does lead to a massive long-term deficit dwarfing agreement, then the debt ceiling did what nothing else has managed to: it may force Republicans and Democrats to agree to spend at a rate close what they obtain in tax revenue. Washington actually moving towards a balanced budget would be a pretty miraculous achievement.