Debt Ceiling 2: Option Boogaloo

January 10, 2013 - 3:12 PM

The United States has hit its borrowing limit and negotiations will shortly begin for Congress to vote to raise the debt ceiling.

There seem to be a lot of options on the table. I decided to take a look at five of them in the video below.

In return for a vote to raise the debt ceiling, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R- Ala.) wants Congress to pass a budget so people will know how all the money is being spent.

Seems like a decent idea until one realizes the Senate hasn’t passed a budget since 2009 - even though there's a federal law that requires Congress to pass a budget plan every year. Since the law seems to have provided very little inspiration to actually pass a budget, would Sessions’ plan?

The debt ceiling looms so large some just want to get out from under it. Treasury Secretary Timothy Giethner is planning to leave office at the end of the month. Giethner won’t be around to have to deal with the debt in an official capacity.

We, as a country, are going to have to deal with our debt in some capacity.

Some Democrats like Rep. Nancy Pelosi say that raising taxes should be included in the debt ceiling discussion.

Others say cutting government spending is the preferable option. Reportedly House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) desires to go down a similar path that was attempted in 2011. Cutting a dollar from spending with every dollar the debt ceiling is raised.

There is resistance to that option as well.

There's also a call on the president to raise the debt ceiling without the approval of CongressUnder current law, Congress must pass legislation to approve a raise in the debt ceiling, and the president can then sign it into law. Some argue the president can bypass Congress by invoking the 14th Amendment of the Constitution which says, “The validity of the public debt of the United States…shall not be questioned.”

Or, the government could mint a special trillion dollar coin and the Treasury could deposit it into the Federal Reserve to offset any increase in the debt limit.

Yes, some are serious about this as an option.

Other lawmakers are planning to propose bills that would prevent the government from doing this.

If a trillion dollar coin is really a serious option, perhaps lawmakers could seriously agree to settle the debt ceiling dispute in a dance-off, as well.

I'm joking, of course. Have you ever seen Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dance? Do you want to?

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