It’s quite appropriate that the U.S.’s debt “ceiling” rarely gets media attention, since the only time the ones who determine what that “ceiling” is pay attention is when it’s time to kick the can down the road ever further. Explaining it publicly can only lead to two possible outcomes: confused anger after trying to comprehend the logic behind a limit than can be moved on a whim, or sleep. Come to think of it, I am kind of tired…
Kidding, sleep can wait. Anyway, as the debt, the gap between what the government spends & what they take from us, threatens — again — to overshoot that arbitrary cap, it’s kick the can time. As usual, some noise is made about not raising it by a few hypocrites for political points, so it’s time for Serious People (in reality not any more serious than the ones they’re responding to, since they don’t, y’know, consider actually paying off anything) to scream bloody murder:
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, laid out the fairly alarming implications of the United States defaulting on its obligations while asking the question: What type of insanity would persuade us to do this?
“Well, look, it pains me that we would even be talking about this,” he told co-host Jake Tapper. “This is not a game. You know, the debt ceiling is not something to toy with. If we hit the debt ceiling, that’s essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history. The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. That would be a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008.”
“As I say that’s not a game,” Goolsbee went on. “I don’t see why anybody’s talking about playing chicken with the debt ceiling. If we get to the point where you’ve damaged the full faith and credit of the United States, that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity. There would be no reason for us to default other than that would be some kind of game.
“The full faith & credit of the U.S.”, he says. Fitting that faith is included in this term, because what is being described amounts to a belief with no logical proof. As for credit, if it worked for us like it does for politicians then all our financial troubles would vanish upon simply replying to those letters from Visa/the bank holding your mortgage/whatever with “Extend my tab pls, okthxbai”. Try that and see how far you get.
The reason this debt is never addressed — and never will be — is fairly simple. Saying that things that people want should be paid for and sticking to it is unpopular, both with the public (whether because of most of us not having the money laying around, sheer ignorance, or for a few of us an objection to the premise behind the alleged “representative” state), and with the political elite, since only suckers pay for their own yacht. So…why do we bother with this game, again?