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what kind of shithole country even has a debt ceiling
it makes no sense and it’s not in the constitution
today, January 19, 2023, is the day the United State hits its debt ceiling.
to oversimplify, the debt ceiling is the amount of money the U.S. Treasury is authorized to borrow to pay its bills. after today, the treasury can use financial slight of hand to get by the limit for a while, but unless the debt ceiling is raised by an act of Congress, by this summer the US will be unable to pay its bills and all financial hell will break loose.
let’s leave the impending disaster aside and ask two questions: why do we have a debt ceiling the the first place, and why didn’t the Democrats get rid of it when they had the chance?
why do we have a debt ceiling?
why indeed? there’s nothing about a debt ceiling in the constitution.
Under Article I Section 8 of the United States Constitution, only Congress can authorize the borrowing of money on the credit of the United States. From the founding of the U.S. until 1917, Congress directly authorized each debt issued. To provide more flexibility to finance the United States' involvement in World War I, Congress modified the method by which it authorized debt in the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917. Under this Act, Congress established an aggregate limit, or "ceiling," on the total amount of new bonds that could be issued.
let’s let Digby translate that into plain English:
This debt ceiling vote is a ritual with no real purpose. The government made the decision during World War I, for reasons that should have been temporary, to require a vote to agree to pay the nation's bills. This makes no sense: Congress already voted to spend the money, so it's ridiculous to require another vote to pay it out. In fact, after the Civil War, the drafters of the 14th Amendment, concerned that Southern Democrats (pretty much the MAGA types of that day and age) would make good on their threat to disavow the national debt incurred during the war, explicitly wrote into the Constitution the words, "the validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned."
ok, fine. but over the last century, the debt ceiling has gone from being a weird procedural formality to being an avenue for Republican political fuckery. so …
why didn’t the Democrats get rid of the debt ceiling when they had the chance?
if holding the debt ceiling hostage has become just another item in the GOP’s terrorist toolbox, why didn’t the Democrats shitcan it when they controlled both the House and the Senate? they had two years to do so. why didn’t they?
if you guessed Kyrsten Fucking Sinema and Joe Fucking Manchin, congratulations, you win.
the Guy Who Lives On A Yacht and the Woman Who Lives Inside Her Own Head once again sided with Republicans and vowed to block any legislation that would repeal the ceiling. why would they do this? who the fuck knows.
and so here we are. all this could have been avoided but [insert sound of head exploding]
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