By law, a statutory limit restricts the total amount of debt the federal government can accumulate. This limit can only be increased by Congress. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner noted in a letter to Congress yesterday that this “debt ceiling” will be reached as early as March 31, 2011.
Many “Tea Party” candidates campaigned on the promise to vote against any increases to the debt ceiling. Following through on this pledge would be unbelievably reckless and could potentially crater the U.S. economy.
“The budgetary consequences of this conservative pledge
would be catastrophic and far-reaching, forcing the immediate cessation of more
than 40 percent of all federal government activities (excluding only interest
payments on the national debt), including Social Security, military operations
in Iraq and Afghanistan, homeland security, Medicare and unemployment
insurance. This would not only threaten the safety and economic security of all
Americans but also have dire impacts for the economy and job growth.