On Thursday, the government will no longer have the ability to pay its debts. We would potentially default on our loans and it would have drastic consequences for our economy. It also would be the only time in U.S. history that we have defaulted. But don’t forget that the government is also partially shut down. More than 350,000 federal workers have been furloughed, while some states and private companies have been allowed to pay the cost to run some national parks and services.
As I have said, the debt ceiling is almost ceremonial since we can raise it at any time. Unfortunately, it still must be raised in order for us to pay our debts. This limit technically doesn’t raise the debt; it just allows us to pay for what we have already spent. Every time the Treasury asks for it to be raised, ideological issues are piggybacked onto the bill. That is why you have been hearing about “clean” bills, because people want them to focus solely on the debt limit.
It has become obvious that Congress is at a standstill. This is what happens when you have divided government during a time of great economic importance. We are entering the third week of the shutdown, and there is no solution in sight. Senators Reid and McConnell cannot even meet in person, they have to call each other, and yet no decision has been made. The impasse at the moment stems from how long we want the limit to be increased, whether for a few months or a year, as well as whether to keep sequestration cuts in the budget or not.
No matter what Republicans are proposing, however, Senate Democrats refuse to negotiate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is more than likely not going to budge much on anything because he feels he doesn’t need to. He must realize that Americans voted in a Republican majority in the House for a reason, and he needs to listen to them. If they cannot agree on anything by the deadline, I am honestly unsure of how America will react. I thought it couldn’t get much worse than a three-week shutdown, but defaulting would incur a global economic crisis. Here’s to hoping Congress can raise the roof so we don’t look like a joke to the entire world.