Raising the debt ceiling "does not cost taxpayers a single dime," Pres. Obama declared in a speech today.
In fact, raising the debt ceiling is "routine," Obama said, addressing Republicans' opposition to increasing the ceiling:
"For example, one of the most important things Congress has to do in the next couple weeks is to raise what's called the debt ceiling. And it's important to understand what this is. This is a routine vote. Congress has taken this vote 45 times to raise the debt ceiling since Ronald Reagan took office.
"It does not cost taxpayers a single dime. It does not grow our deficits by a single dime. It does not authorize anybody to spend any new money whatsoever. All it does is authorize the Treasury to pay the bills on what Congress has already spent."
True enough, perhaps, if Congress merely raised the ceiling just enough to pay current obligations. But, as Obama points out, every one of those 45 times we've raised the debt ceiling, we've had to raise it again.
That's a lot of dimes.