Do Away With National Debt Ceiling Law

Thomas Sowell nails it in his latest column at NRO. The Debt Ceiling law should be stricken from the books. All it does is give political cover to the party in power who runs up the debt and then causes the minority party to either cut programs or raise the limit to put off a default or government shutdown. Frankly, both parties are at fault for continually raising the debt limit.

The national-debt-ceiling law should be judged by what it actually does, not by how good an idea it seems to be. The one thing that the national-debt ceiling has never done is put a ceiling on the rising national debt. Time and time again, for years on end, the national-debt ceiling has been raised whenever the national debt got near whatever the current ceiling was.

Regardless of what it is supposed to do, what the national-debt ceiling actually does is enable any administration to get all the political benefits of runaway spending for the benefit of their favorite constituencies — and then invite the opposition party to share the blame, by either raising the national-debt ceiling or voting for unpopular cutbacks in spending or increases in taxes.

The Obama administration is a classic example. When all its skyrocketing spending bills were being rushed through Congress without even being read, the Democrats had such overwhelming majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives that Republicans could barely get a word in edgewise — even though their words had no chance of stopping, or even slowing down, the spending of trillions of dollars.

Now that the bill is coming due for all that spending and borrowing, Republicans are suddenly being invited to share the blame for either raising the national-debt ceiling or enacting whatever other unpopular measures will be legislated.

Many years ago, someone said, “If you didn’t invite me to the big take-off, don’t invite me to the crash landing.” This was Obama’s big spending spree, but “bipartisanship” requires Republicans to either split the bill or be blamed if the government shuts down or defaults.

What would happen if there were no national-debt-ceiling law?

Those who got the political benefits from handing out trillions of dollars of taxpayers’ money (plus borrowed money) would also get the clear and sole blame for the resulting skyrocketing national debt and all the unpopular consequences.

H/T Memeorandum

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3 thoughts on “Do Away With National Debt Ceiling Law

  1. An interesting perspective. Sowell definitely has an interesting insight. Nonetheless, I think he misses something. I think is letting the messy nature of the battle over the debt ceiling tempt him to ignore the benefits.

    Because of the debt ceiling, Republicans have had the chance to highlight the fact we are borrowing money to pay normal operating costs. Because the Democrats have already committed us to the expenses, we have to raise the debt ceiling to pay off those bills. Nonetheless, we don’t have to keep borrowing and borrowing and borrowing indefinitely.

    So what is the net result of the furor over raising the debt ceiling? Republicans have exposed the Democrats as spendthrifts. If they play their cards right, the battle over the debt ceiling should help Republicans more than it hurts. IF……

    • The problem is unconstitutional spending by the Congress on both sides of the aisle. We cannot keep raising the limit, it’s counterproductive. That’s why we also don’t need a balanced budget amendment. What we need to do is get the current crop of idiots out of Washington and vote in some responsible people who believe in the Constitution and will adhere to it’s tenets. Thanks for your comment.

      Mike G.

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