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Blackberry's avatar

Why is this debt ceiling a problem now when it has been raised multiple times in the past?

Asked by Blackberry (31923points) July 29th, 2011

I did not know until recently that we have raised our debt ceiling numerous times. Is this just a way to freak people out or are we trying to do something different?

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42 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Republicans figured out they can rally up the troops with this scare tactic. The media latched on.

mazingerz88's avatar

We owe more debt now. That is my non-cynical answer.

augustlan's avatar

Honestly, I truly think it’s just that the far-right Republicans are so intent on taking down Obama that they’ll do anything to bring about his demise. Including defaulting on our debt.

The debt ceiling was raised numerous times under Republican presidents without a murmur of protest.

JLeslie's avatar

I hated it under Reagan, I hated Reagan driving up the debt. I hated that back then it was touted as good economics, at least now the whole country is freaked about the debt, I like that actually.

bob_'s avatar

@augustlan Obama voted in 2006 against raising the limit. He now says he regrets it.

Judi's avatar

But it’s not a good idea to just tell our debtors, “sorry, congress says no, so you’re not getting your money.” I can understand cutting back on FUTURE commitments, but defaulting on the commitments we have already made is just irresponsible.

augustlan's avatar

@bob_ Interesting. I wasn’t aware of that.

YoBob's avatar

Because we are now approaching a 100% debt ratio (the point where the money we borrow each year exceeds our income).

bob_'s avatar

@YoBob Wrong. A 100% debt-to-GDP ratio means the government’s total debt equals the annual Gross Domestic Product.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @judi I don’t think that came through in my answers, so I just wanted to clarify.

cazzie's avatar

It is a tactic from the Republican and Tea Party, to try to bring down the government. They would rather cut off their nose to spite their face.

YoBob's avatar

I stand corrected on that detail. The point is that the ratio is approaching 100% puts us very near the top (#5 according the the AP Global Economy Tracker) among the worlds largest economies.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s not a problem, @YoBob.

It is a problem now for political reasons. Every debt ceiling fight is political more than economic. They are tinkering around the edges with things that will have a negligible impact. It’s all about philosophy and being seen to give their constituency what they think they were elected for.

The Republicans had a deal that gave them everything they wanted. The Dems totally caved. And the Reps took it off the table. Purely political reasons that also have to do with individual philosophies about how much personal responsibility we have versus how much collective responsibility. But that’s another topic.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Not raising it means not paying loans, which means a lowered credit score for the government. Apparently that could effect numerous parts of the economy, raising prices for a lot of stuff and increasing interest rates.

For those of us identified and dependant more on our communities and the earth than some cadre of borderline sociopathic assholes, it’s either irrelevent or a good thing.

cazzie's avatar

@incendiary_dan hoping for the demise of your fellow man could be seen as a sociopaths mentality.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Indeed. And if you think that’s what I said I want, you need to read it again or learn some critical thinking.

cazzie's avatar

A ‘good thing’...?

incendiary_dan's avatar

Default doesn’t mean demise, unless you’re somehow magically linked to an IV that feeds you stock prices. I’ve made my case numerous times about why the industrial economy is incompatible with a living planet. I’m too tired to make it again.

mazingerz88's avatar

@cazzie Sorry can’t help but notice too but “a good thing” for those of them who are identified as dependent more on the earth…see?

cazzie's avatar

I see, but I’m used to being concerned about my neighbour and their children and how they fare and how it makes my community a nice place to live.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@cazzie Well then, I hope you and your neighbors talk seriously about feeding yourselves no matter what happens to the global economy. Just a smart thing to do. I can offer some guidance in terms of gardening; my Three Sisters garden is super-abundant.

cazzie's avatar

I live in a horrible climate, but have studied enough that we could move to our cabin and subsist enough if all hell breaks loose…. personally…. I don’t think it will become too desperate here. I belong to a re-enacting group that studies the old way. We spin and weave and study what is wild and edible and what we can grow up in this horrid latitude. If all hell breaks loose, I’m glad I’m here and not there.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@cazzie Sounds like you’re more than equipped to help others gain some self-sufficiency, too. :)

cazzie's avatar

The thing is…. with tornados that struck the US lately… I keep thinking… having a good larder and knowing how to have clean water is something EVERYONE should have and know so they can help when disaster strikes.

YoBob's avatar

IMHIO, everyone should have a Zombie Apocalypse kit at the ready.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Yea, clean water is an essential that lots of people overlook. I keep a few gallons bottled up in my home (not enough), and I have a ceramic gravity powered filter. It was pretty cheap, and they can be made by anyone with basic pottery skills.

@YoBob Totally. One reason the zombie meme is so big in the disaster-prep crowd is because it basically involves the worse case scenario. If you can get through that, you can get through anything.

YoBob's avatar

Personally I think the CDC hit an out of the park home run with the whole Zombie Apocalypse campaign.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@YoBob Yea, it was a pretty good idea and hopefully got people thinking more about emergency prep. I just hope some people take that beginning advice and build on it for some self-sufficiency.

Judi's avatar

Some people prepare for the worst and hope it doesn’t happen, and some prepare for the worst and hope they get a chance to show off their mad survival skills. My fear is what will happen to those who have no idea how to survive without infrastructure, which seems to be crumbling more and more. I’m trading in my harley for two dual purpose honda’s.

Jaxk's avatar

Back to the question. We were threatened with a credit downgrade even if the debt ceiling was raised. That has never happened before. I suppose we could have just ignored the credit downgrade and pushed the debt ceiling higher as the President originally recommended. We were in for problems which ever way we went and the reasonable solution was to get our debt under control and raise the limit. We’ve been haggling ever since on whether to get the debt under control.

What ever disaster you think will occur if we lose our AAA credit rating, will occur whether we’ve lost that rating due to not raising the debt ceiling or not handling our debt problem. The only way to avoid the rating drop is to handle both. That makes a showdown inevitable.

Judi's avatar

@Jaxk ; but they don’t have to be handled in teh same Bill.

Jaxk's avatar

@Judi

You’re absolutely right. However if we can’t find a way to handle the debt with an impending crisis, what are the odds we’ll find one without it. I suppose we could go the way Obama wanted and just raise the debt ceiling. We can worry about the debt next year. Of course the credit rating won’t last that long but as long as we don’t have to do it right now, things will be better.

I recall the last line in Gone with the Wind, Scarlett says, “I won’t worry about that today, I’ll worry about that tomorrow”. Or something to that affect.

Judi's avatar

@Jaxk ; We could have worried about it when we had a surplus instead of giving away all the surplus to the rich and to Halliburton too.

Jaxk's avatar

@Judi

I suppose we could have worried about it while we raised the budget from $2.9 trillion to $3.7 trillion as well. Or we could have worried about it while we spent an additional $4 trillion we didn’t have over the past 2 years. I suppose we could spend our time trying to fix blame instead of fixing the problem. That is afterall, what Obama has decided to do.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Because more and more people are realizing that it’s all a huge lie. There is no debt ceiling because money is fake. These loans are just someone typing in a number on a computer. We’re borrowing GHOSTS from bankers who create imaginary wealth out of thin air with a POOF of their magic wand. It’s all just a huge fraud to divert Americans from what the real problems are… like the out of control spending on military while schools are passing sub par students onto the next grade level in order to qualify for more crack from the bankers GHOST money.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You want to know how stupid this whole thing is…

WHO THE HELL RAISES THEIR OWN CREDIT LIMIT???

WTF are we stupid? You can’t call your creditors and say “Hey! I just decided to give myself more credit!”

Unless we’ve all lost our freaking minds, can we please remember that extended credit is supposed to be offered by the one who’s giving it. Not the one who’s borrowing it. The world has gone freaking mad.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

The debt ceiling, as a concept, is unconstitutional, has always been.

The 14th amendment was drafted with language to make sure, when the South rejoined the union, the Congress could not stop payment on money already spent fighting the Civil War. It says that a new Congress did not have the authority to hold back from a President money that he has been directed to spend by the last Congress.

The debt ceiling was created during WWI due to the Congress at the time feeling as if they needed a better check on a President’s power to spend and borrow money. WWI was hugely expensive, as the bills came in and the Executive branch was running around borrowing money to fight it, the Congress got nervous.

The debt ceiling is unconstitutional. It has never been tested; each new Congress found it convenient to just raise it. If the debt ceiling was ever looked at in court, it would be found unconstitutional and the Congress would lose that tool to control the president.

The President of the United States runs agencies as he has been told to by Congress. A new Congress not allowing the president to borrow money the last Congress directed him to spend is exactly what the 14th amendment protects from.

And I probably made capitalization errors all through that answer.

Nonamechick's avatar

I am really pissed about this subject right now. I think it’s such a big deal now because we are in so much debt that the value of or money is dropping. What ticks me off is the first people to be punished is the military when they put there life on the line to keep America safe. My husband and I do not live on base we pay rent and he works every day and honestly for the amount of work he does he gets under paid.I’m not just talking about how much work but also how many hours he works. I just have one question for Obama, How are the military families that don’t live on base going to be able to pay their rent if they don’t get their pay check next month because of the debt we keep getting put into? Also mister president needs to get his butt out to all the military bases and buy everyone their food cause the only people allowed to go to the chow hall are the military them selfs not their spouses our kids. I’m sorry but I know not everyone that has well fair isn’t lazy and are really trying to find a job but why don’t they investigate the ones that are doing it just cause they don’t want to work and take their money away first? I know a few that I can name off the top of my head that are doing that right now. Yes i have told them they are wrong for it. I may be biased about it cause I am a military wife (we are getting out soon thank God neither my husband or I enjoy the military) But not only that I want to know whats going to happen to my cousin when she is sent to south Korea and wont have money for food either cause anyways you still have to pay for chow hall. Oh and my aunt and her family are air force they have two young kids what’s going to happen with them when my aunt and uncle can’t afford to feed them? Also my friend Chance who is supposed to be getting married in a few weeks. I know I might be annoying some people with this right now but I’m pissed cause it’s effect a lot of my friends and family and not just me. My point is the military works there but off they leave their families behind and I’ve seen how it effects people. Lucky for me my husband got moved to a base shop right before we got married but he was out in Afghanistan for 3 years. But after everything the Military does to keep us safe and sound in our homes they are the first to not get paid because they are legally able to be made to work with out pay while there are people out there getting paid to sit on their ass.

yes i am pissed.

chewhorse's avatar

“Why is this debt ceiling a problem now when it has been raised multiple times in the past?”

Because THIS time even the corporate elite will feel it (no bail-outs this time).

wundayatta's avatar

@Nonamechick Your money is not getting less valuable at a rate higher that what we’ve been enjoying for over a decade now. We’re still undr 4% inflation in 2011, and the reason it is that high has nothing to do with the debt ceiling. It has to do with oil prices—something the US is not in control of.

I’m curious. You can’t afford food now? But could you afford it in the past on the military salary?

Jaxk's avatar

@wundayatta

Commodities are not included in the inflation calculation. Neither oil nor food is the reason for the 4% inflation. If they were included, inflation would be much, much higher.

Nonamechick's avatar

Do what?? What are you asking?? did you get confused we are still military and my aunt and uncle ARENT they have two kids and they still get the military check cause they retire but my aunt can’t work causeshe was hurt in a wreck and still gets pain from it. She is on disability now and my uncle has some disk issues in his back. So the thing is the military get;s their check taken before anyone else, meaning my cousions wont eat,meaning i will be pissed,and meaning my landlord will kick us out, last time it happend lucky for us we have a nice landlord but co worker of my husband had issues you do LATER get the money ack but it all depends on timeing and how understanding people are.

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