From operating a Radio station to your personal finances, everyone has to abide by a budget. Your personal economic situation might not be guided by a plan on paper (or in a spreadsheet), but it is quickly obvious to even the most financially clueless that you cannot continue to spend more than you accumulate.
Unless you are the government of the United States.
In that case, the good times never end. Those in control of the country’s purse strings have — for the past several decades — opted to spend much, much more than is actually in the nation’s coffers. But not to worry. Being as it is the government we’re talking about, they can a) increase taxes; b) borrow more; and/or c) print money. What could go wrong?
Now, there looms the specter of exceeding the “debt ceiling”; the amount of money authorized by congress for the government to borrow in order that we may continue to spend that which we do not have. Unlike those of us dealing with MasterCard or Visa, the government routinely increases the amount of money the nation can borrow. This would be as if you could call up your credit card company and inform them they are increasing your debt limit to an amount you specify. Try doing that tomorrow and see how long it takes them to stop laughing.
But if our betters in congress choose to increase the debt limit each time the country bumps up against that pesky boundary, why have the limit at all? If government “stimulus” is good for the economy, let’s just do away with the debt limit entirely and spend, spend, spend!
Think of it: we could borrow trillions…quadrillions…(whatever comes after quadrillions). If unbridled spending is actually beneficial for the nation and its citizens, let’s borrow every dollar, peso, yen, ruble, mark, and pound in existence! No more limits! We could give each citizen 100 trillion dollars and end poverty completely.
Of course, this scheme is quite insane. Not even the United States can escape the consequences of unfettered borrowing. Sooner or later, the money must be repaid. And congress, as well as this clueless administration, knows it.
So if there is to be a debt limit — and in a sane world, this cannot be avoided — it must truly be a limit. A boundary beyond which we cannot pass.
As is typical of the Washington crowd, financial Armageddon is predicted if the debt limit is not increased. Contrary to their claims, the United States will not default on its obligations if reality triumphs. We will pay those obligations due, and be forced to reduce or eliminate those optional expenses we cannot afford. This is secret code for cutting expenditures. Which is the whole point of the exercise.
If the debt limit is to mean anything at all, it must be respected. As with your household, when you run out of money and the credit cards are maxed, you stop spending. The alternative will increase the nation’s slide to complete economic collapse, and the end of the United States as we know it.