Look Both Ways: Should we raise the U.S. debt ceiling?


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The U.S. debt has hit the ceiling once again, raising concerns whether or not Congress should continue raising the debt ceiling.

The national debt ceiling legally limits the amount of debt the United States can accumulate. 

The debt ceiling was created during World War I to control government spending through the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917. 

Since then, the debt ceiling has been raised 78 times in an effort to prevent a default, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury

Now, as America reaches the limit on earth again, citizens are wondering if having a national debt ceiling has become more trouble than it is worth. 


Why we should raise the debt ceiling 

By: Lucy Atkinson

Never before has the United States defaulted on its debt ceiling, so what would that look like? No one can say for sure. Most economists agree, however, that in some shape or form, it would mean one thing: national financial disaster. 

Secretary of the United States Treasury Janet Yellen explains that the Treasury will no longer be able to withhold government obligations as early as June and Congress must make a decision. The reality is that the country must raise the debt ceiling. 

Cutting government spending would be one method to avoid increasing the debt ceiling, as Republican lawmakers are currently advocating to do. 

Yet cutting government spending in the manner the GOP desires would mean cutting spending for government aid programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

If we fail to raise the debt ceiling, we are endangering each and every one of those programs – programs which the government has already committed to supporting.  

It is undeniable that hitting the debt ceiling is not ideal. However, it is equally unavoidable. 

While it is far more than necessary that we re-think government spending and satisfy national debt sooner rather than later, this is ultimately an issue to resolve in the near future, not the present, when economic and social disaster is the most imminent threat. 

Refusing to raise the ceiling now since we have actually hit it makes about as much sense as throwing away all the household’s crayons rather than washing the toddler’s masterpiece off the walls. 

The damage is already done; however, in this situation, the crayons we throw away will impact the millions of Americans that currently rely on government welfare aid. 

Let us hope it will be the last time, but we must raise the debt ceiling. 


Why we should not raise the debt ceiling 

By: Angelina Padilla-Tompkins

The national debt is accumulated by the federal government borrowing money, so when the government puts out new funding for various organizations the national debt is increased. If we decide to simply raise the limit again, then we are only encouraging more high spending. 

Think about it: if an individual is already in debt and they take out more loans, they are only digging themselves a deeper hole. Now, imagine that but at a national level. It’s not smart spending. 

If the national debt ceiling is continuously increased, America’s debt is projected to reach $36.9 trillion by the end of 2027 and $45.4 trillion by the end of 2032, Congressional Research Services reported. 

As the national debt increases, the government will need to find other ways to make back some of that money. For example, increasing interest rates seems to be their favorite action. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the current threat of a recession, Americans are already struggling with high interest, mortgage and credit rates. 

Instead of raising the debt ceiling again, Congress should decide to tie the national debt limit to the annual budget bill. 

Instead of continuously borrowing money until we reach the cap, Congress should only be allowed to borrow a certain amount each year which would be agreed upon through the national budget. 

Congress cannot continuously raise the debt ceiling. They will only dig us into a deeper hole of debt.