Talking Points

Congress is choosing the 2nd stupidest option on the debt ceiling

America reportedly has a solution to the looming debt ceiling crisis, which is good in that defaulting on the federal debt could cause an international financial catastrophe. But it's also bad, in that the solution is incredibly stupid. Here it is: We're going to have the exact same crisis again in two months.

I have been writing for years about how the debt ceiling — and its live danger of a pointlessly self-imposed national default — is both a mindlessly stupid structure that does not exist in any other country and also something that could easily be fixed. Democrats could amend the filibuster and delete the ceiling forever in five minutes, because they control both houses of Congress and the White House. Or President Biden could declare it unconstitutional, as it almost certainly is. Or he could mint the platinum coin.

The worst way to avoid national default would be to give Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) actual policy concessions in return for Republican votes, because that would set a terrible precedent. The second-worst would be to fall into his trap of offering Democrats a two-month respite before they're faced with the very same problem. In two months, Democrats are once more going to wrap themselves around the political axle. They'll once more prove unable to unify behind any of the simple, obvious, responsible solutions mentioned above, and they'll look like the utter nincompoops that they are. Biden's approval rating will fall another couple points.

And then, if history is any guide, we'll do it all again two months after that.