U.S. debt ceiling affects life, students

The United States  House of Representatives began meeting in May to discuss the option of raising the United States’ debt ceiling.

According to www.npr.com, the debt ceiling is “the amount of money set by Congress that the federal governments can legally borrow in order to pay for
its commitments — things like Social Security, Medicare and military expenses.”

This ceiling already rests at $14.3 trillion and is nowhere near disappearing. The debt ceiling was increased in February of this year from its previous $12.4 trillion. As it stands, August 2 is the official deadline for the House to come to a decision to either raise the ceiling or freeze it where it is.

As a nation, we couldn’t even make it a full three months without having to petition for the ceiling to be raised.

What’s worse is that in an interview with “PBS NewsHour,” Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner said he knew that based on the patterns of government spending, the increased debt ceiling would only offer relief for a little over two months.

So to sum it up: We increased the ceiling to a number we knew would eventually not be enough to pay all of the bills, and now it is scrambling to prevent the national market from crashing.

What we should be doing is implementing programs that circulate money within the system, rather than simply reverting to international loans from the Bond market. This doesn’t mean that federal spending is increasing; rather, we simply don’t have the money to pay any of the current debts, so the deficit is increasing.

Representative Chris Van Hollen said, “Any balanced approach [to debt reduction] requires revenues.”

As students, this is an issue we should be concerned and informed about.

The adjustments to federal spending will affect financial aid, taxes, Social Security and Medicare, to name a few. All of these things affect us either directly
or indirectly.

“People are under financial strain, so when they see a number like $14.3 trillion, they expect the government to act as frugally as they are. But it’s a false comparison. We can’t choose not to raise it,” said Andrew Fieldhouse, a federal budget policy analyst for the Economic Policy Institute in an interview with NPR June 3.

Why not? If we are being asked to set up budgets, stick to them and plan in advance for emergencies, then we should expect the government to be doing the same thing it is asking the people it governs to do.

The government has been giving more spending options to the big oil companies and not paying the Medicare recipients in order to keep money flowing within the economy.

That is wrong.

The cuts we are making are not effective and have not prevented the raising of the ceiling.

Maybe we should take a hint and try something different for once.

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