Key House Republicans want to slash Medicare and Social Security so badly that they’re willing to risk a global financial crisis over it.

Their weapon? The debt ceiling, an arbitrary, purely political limit on federal borrowing that bears no meaningful relationship to the health of the economy. It’s a farcical problem — and demands an equally farcical solution.

The debt ceiling doesn’t limit what the government can spend. It limits how much the Treasury can borrow to pay for spending Congress has already required. Refusing to raise the debt ceiling amounts to prohibiting the government from paying debt that Congress already incurred.

If that happens, it would shred the full faith and credit of the United States, send our national credit rating down the tubes, and plunge both the U.S. and global economies into crisis. It could destroy 6 million jobs and wipe out $15 trillion in household wealth in this country alone.

Republicans say this is about reducing the deficit, but their actions say otherwise.

The ballooning of the deficit since 2001 has been caused in large part by unfunded wars, exorbitant tax cuts for the very wealthy and corporations, and out-of-control Pentagon spending. More of the same helped President Donald Trump add nearly $8 trillion to the national debt in just four years, an increase that started well before the pandemic.

Karen Dolan directs the Criminalization of Race and Poverty Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Distributed by

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