Raising the debt ceiling does not increase the national debt, but congressional wrangling over it does


HERE are a few facts some folks seem not to understand:

Raising the debt ceiling does not raise the national debt, but fighting over it does. The perverse outcome of the GOP’s 2011 fight over the ceiling was a nearly $19 billion increase in costs to taxpayers over the coming years due to increased borrowing costs stemming from the credit downgrade. Over the 50 years prior to 2011, the cap on borrowing had been raised nearly 80 separate times as necessary to allow the government to continue paying its debts. Nineteen of those hikes came with George W. Bush in the White House. Republican leaders broke that trend and deemed the country’s financial credibility and economic health “a hostage worth ransoming.” But while the GOP negotiating position inherently acknowledges that the debt ceiling must rise, the denial of economic fact promoted by [Rep. John] Fleming [R-Fla.] and other ultra-conservatives seems to have boxed [John] Boehner in politically. He reportedly proposes to force a default unless President Obama adopts the Republican position on essentially every issue.


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