Geithner: We should definitely just get rid of the debt ceiling

posted at 7:01 pm on November 17, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Yes, by all means — let’s just blithely remove the mechanism forcing us to have a discussion about our whopping and ever-mounting $16 trillion in national debt, because we can’t get our fiscal act together. That pesky ol’ chestnut. From the WFB:

And via HuffPo:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the U.S. “absolutely” should get rid of the debt ceiling as soon as possible.

“It would have been time a long time ago to eliminate it,” Geithner told Bloomberg TV on Friday. “The sooner the better.”

Geithner did not commit to personally doing anything to eliminate the nation’s legal limit on borrowing. When pressed on the issue, Geithner told Bloomberg TV: “This is only something only Congress can solve. Congress put it on itself.”

“Only once, last summer, did people decide to use it to threaten default on the American credit for the first time in history as a tool for political advantage,” he continued. “And that’s not a tenable strategy for the country.”

Hey, you know what else isn’t a tenable strategy for the country? Spending a trillion dollars we don’t have on a counterproductively bloated bureaucracy, every year.

I understand what Geithner is getting at, of course — the playing chicken and flirting-with-breaching the ceiling, which we’re slated to hit again this February/March, isn’t good for our financial resume. Just abolishing the debt ceiling, however, isn’t the conversation we need to be having — and it’s jaw-dropping that our credit rating is even in this kind of jeopardy. The conversation we need to be having is how to drastically reduce the amount of debt we’re annually incurring, and it’s a conversation that Democrats are persistently ignoring in favor of piddling, economy-damaging tax hikes. Yes, the debt ceiling is a self-imposed limit we can keep adjusting, but the amount of debt we can credibly hold is a limitation we absolutely cannot get around. The mind reels.

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Just print more money for God’s sake.

When it has no real value you won’t feel so bad as you’re burning it to keep warm.

hawkdriver on November 18, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Why not? No sense just lingering here on the edge of a cliff . . . let’s just jump and quickly end it all. After all, it’s not the fall that hurts . . . it that sudden stop, right Timmy?

rplat on November 18, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Aw, c’mon Erika, what could possibly go wrong? /s

College Prof on November 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM

I just called Capital One and asked to have my 24K limit increased to infinity. I insisted that I would stimulate the economy buying all sorts of things that I need and want, and promised to pay on time by setting up auto payments from the limitless cash advance option. It was declined for an unknown reason and now I have to wait for the details by mail.

Borgcube on November 18, 2012 at 10:39 AM

We are of a mind on this. Just different semantics, and perhaps you think these guys are really no different than the ‘Robber-Bureaucrats” of the past. I think this is a new breed, with more than touch of actual evil at their core.

LegendHasIt on November 18, 2012 at 1:34 AM

True, the Captains of Industry did so much for America and Americans (and the world no less) through the risks they took and their successes. I’m not against monopolies per se, that is I expect businesses to expand in order to achieve greater profit. I have a problem with the government stepping in and telling private concerns what they can and can’t own.

But what I do have a problem with is the manipulation/bribing of government officials to get the rules changed so you can do what is wrong and what is therefore NOT good for the American people. These folks can buy out all the companies they want, but they need to do it solely within the realm of a business climate. Free enterprise must be allowed to thrive.

Building monopolies by breaking laws (such as those dealing with extortion) relegates those who oversee the bulk of the productivity of this country make them crooks nonetheless.

Using government to squelch competition is not good for the consumer nor the free enterprise system as a whole.

Lsstly, using my wealth via the government to feed private concerns because they’re “too big to fail” is unacceptable. If I don’t have a choice in what consumer goods and services I wish to purchase, nor a choice in whom I wish to do business with for non-economic reasons then I may as well not live in the United States.

Dr. ZhivBlago on November 18, 2012 at 11:04 AM

The conversation we need to be having is how can this current generation pay back the 16 trillion before it passes on to the next generation as indentured servitude, also known as slavery.

This generation does not OWN the wealth creation of the next generation, UNLESS it also OWNS the next generation.

astonerii on November 18, 2012 at 12:35 PM

God! We are so screwed.

I’m beginning to think that the Mayans were great economist.

esnap on November 18, 2012 at 3:18 PM

just notice how much geitner looks like jon stewart.

(geitner’s actually funnier)

Tim_CA on November 18, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Pay my taxes? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I did.

Thank you for coming in, Mr Geitner.

sgtstogie on November 18, 2012 at 7:10 PM

Geitner got his job even when he did not pay taxes he owed the USA. He got a pass. So, why not just give everyone a pass – no debt limit. Great message to send to people who owe money for anything – mortgages, cars, student loans, etc. – just print more money.

And these people are supposed to be smart? Leaders? No way. They, too, will eventually feel the pain of their absurdly stupid monetary policies but hey, they’re Democrats and they CARE about us.


MN J on November 18, 2012 at 11:33 PM

So by eliminating the debt ceiling, we will accomplish what??

It has already been demonstrated that the we will spend and spend secure in the knowledge that others will keep funding our spending at attractive rates.

Perhaps what we really need is a hard dose of reality such as when a free-spending [fill in the blank] runs into his/her ultimate credit limit. The result is unlikely to be pleasant, in actuality almost certainly really painful, but sometimes necessary.

There are alternatives to get around a loss of credit. We could inflate the currency — printing whatever we need — maybe a dose of hyperinflation, which harkens back to the Weimar Republic and the perhaps half believed/understood stories of wheelbarrows of marks to buy a loaf of bread, might also be in store for us. After the pain and suffering, we probably will come out a more knowledgable and savy country, but the in-between is not going to be nice.

Russ808 on November 19, 2012 at 3:12 PM