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Defaulting on debt a catastrophe

Defaulting on debt a catastrophe

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The federal government will reach the debt ceiling and default on its debt by Oct. 14. Unfortunately for everyone, Congress is deadlocked as always; Democrats wait for bipartisanship while Republicans say they are on their own. Meanwhile, a deadline to prevent complete economic collapse looms.

The debt limit crisis seems very boring and complicated, however, it is more simple than it appears. The debt limit is the amount the government is allowed to borrow to pay its existing obligations. It only covers budgets approved by Congress, payments of the national debt, and other obligations such as Social Security and treaty payments. Many have falsely compared the debt limit to a personal credit card limit. This is a flawed comparison, as the debt limit does not authorize or encourage future spending only covering existing budgets and obligations.

Yet, if the debt ceiling is not raised, the ensuing default would essentially cause an overnight economic collapse. Millions of people will lose their jobs, the stock market will collapse and the failure of the financial system will make 2008 look like child’s play. This is what is at risk when Congress plays chicken with the debt ceiling.

Republicans have decided that the responsibility to raise the debt ceiling falls on Democrats, a remarkable abandonment of responsibility. With the filibuster problem in the Senate, this is impossible without Republican support. They defend this decision saying it isn’t uncommon for the majority party to bear the burden of raising the debt ceiling, yet under Trump Democrats voted with Republicans to raise the debt ceiling three separate times. Regardless of hypocrisy, it should not fall exclusively on the majority party to prevent a government default. Instead, now that a Democrat occupies the White House, Republicans are now perfectly willing to threaten a global economic catastrophe just to make the Democrats look bad.

I am more than willing to criticize the Democrats, and in this context there certainly are some criticisms they deserve, but this is a clear cut example of why both parties aren’t equally bad. The supposed party of “fiscal responsibility” have abandoned any responsibility and threaten to permanently destroy the economy in order to score political points. As much as can be said that is wrong with the Democratic party, at the very least they are not suicidal.

Jaden Longfellow, Kearney


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