Dump the debt ceiling
May 17, 2011 8 Comments
Andrew Pavelyev makes the perfectly sensible suggestion of simply doing away with the debt ceiling.
The federal debt ceiling is utterly redundant, since Congress already has the sole constitutional power to authorize any federal spending. Even if Congress were concerned about the remote possibility of the Treasury borrowing a lot of cash just for the fun of it and piling it in the White House basement (since there’s no way it can be spent on anything without explicit permission from Congress), there would be ways to prevent that without any debt ceiling — by authorizing the Treasury to issue new debt only as long as the amount of cash on hand does not exceed the current federal budget. The mere fact that the debt ceiling serves no useful function should be more than sufficient reason to repeal it.
Annie Lowery agrees. Bruce Bartlett has said the President should simply act independently and continue selling Treasury securities. It seems that doing away with the debt limit is the most straightforward approach, with the least uncertainty.
A balanced budget means the ins match the outs. Congress can already achieve this or at least move toward it via the budgetary process. We don’t need superfluous steps in an already (seemingly) impossible situation of political gridlock that keeps us from addressing our fiscal problems.