President Biden said it well when he called House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) demands to gut the U.S. safety net or force a federal default “wacko.”

Whatever word for it you use, McCarthy and his caucus are holding American families, the full faith and credit of the United States and the global economy hostage to his demands to slash the programs that most of us rely on.

The debt limit is an arbitrary congressional cap on how much the federal government can borrow to pay for its debts — debts Congress incurs with its own taxing and spending decisions. If Congress votes to spend more than it votes to tax, then the federal government legally must borrow to cover those bills. So if the limit isn’t raised periodically, we default.

McCarthy likes to compare raising the debt ceiling to parents raising their teenagers’ credit limit after they’ve maxed out a credit card. But by refusing to just raise it, what he’s really advocating is running up that bill and then not paying it. He’s the one behaving irresponsibly.

Make no mistake — this isn’t about debt.

Read the rest at The Hill.

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

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