Debt Ceiling Debate: What Will Happen If Congress Doesn’t Raise It?

October 11, 2013  |  

Amid all the discussion about the budget and Obamacare and the government shutdown, there are widespread fears that the government is going to default on its debts if Congress doesn’t agree to raise the debt ceiling. In its discussions with the American people about what that means and why some Republicans oppose it, they draw parallels between managing the national budget and managing a household budget. Usually, the refrain is, “You can’t spend willy-nilly at home. So the US government shouldn’t be allowed to do it either.”

The only problem is, the US budget isn’t meant to be managed in the same way that your personal budget is. There are responsibilities that go far beyond paying the car note and cable bill that have to be taken into account. Most importantly, America’s promise to pay its debts on time has global implications if it’s not kept. The government doesn’t get a phone call from collections if the bills don’t get paid. Bonds, interest rates, and the world economy pay the price.

This week, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes attempted to explain what it means if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling. Already, Wall Street is appealing to Congress to negotiate and resolve this issue. But the latest talks between President Obama and House Republicans has yielded little. According to a briefing from Press Secretary Jay Carney, the President doesn’t want to tie budget negotiations to a six-week raise of the debt ceiling because we’d be back at this contentious place around Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, the President has also met with Senate Republicans and small business owners, who fear that ongoing economic debate will cast a pall on the holiday shopping season. Over in the Senate, Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who was Mitt Romney’s running mate during the 2012 presidential election, has once again taken a lead role in trying to find some way to break this impasse. From their perspective, many of the Republican Senators that spoke with the President think there’s a “jelling” that’s beginning to happen with “substantive” policy discussion happening, according to The Washington Post.

But back to this clip. Below is Chris Hayes’ explanation, which shows pretty clearly that he, like many others, according to the polls, believes that the Republicans are at fault for our current quagmire. Good information here.

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[h/t Business Insider]

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