Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) on Thursday called the way the U.S. borrows money a “Ponzi scheme” that could soon throw the country into financial turmoil.
And he said the U.S. is no longer in control of its own future as a result.
Risch described in detail how the Bureau of Public Debt, through the U.S. Department of Treasury, goes about borrowing the $4 billion to $5 billion a day needed to keep the federal government running.
"There's no money," said Risch. "It's a Ponzi scheme."
Risch predicted that if the government continues such behavior, a financial catastrophe could ensue.
"What happens when people stop loaning us money?” asked Risch. “I'm telling you, there's going to come a day, and everyone will be affected."
Risch made his remarks as Congress prepares to return to Washington after a two-week break to begin debate on whether to raise the $14.3 trillion limit, which will be reached in the coming months.
Democrats, some Republicans and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner fear that if Congress does not raise the borrowing ceiling, the U.S. could default on its debt, prompting a global crisis.
Republicans are hoping to force spending reductions, and possibly a balanced-budget constitutional amendment, in exchange for raising the debt limit.