The United States debt ceiling is a limit set by Congress on how much national debt the U.S. Treasury can incur. In recent weeks, much of the news cycle has focused on the debt ceiling and debates over whether it should be raised or not. While this has not been a hot-button issue historically, it has emerged as one during a time of increased partisanship. The issue of whether or not to have a debt ceiling has sparked questions over whether a debt ceiling is constitutional or effective.
Those who support the United States having a debt ceiling argue that it is an important tool in keeping government spending in check. They argue that it is one extra hurdle that lawmakers need to clear in order to enact large spending bills, which helps minimize unnecessary new programs and entitlements. Additionally, they contend that the debt ceiling makes it easier for Congress to do its job as it gives the U.S. Treasury the legal ability to spend more money than it has up to a certain limit.
Those who oppose the United States having a debt ceiling argue that it is an ineffective tool that is cumbersome to the governing process. They argue that the debt ceiling frequently needs to be raised in order for the U.S. Treasury to spend money on bills that have already been passed—a process which takes unnecessary time and effort. They also argue that the debt ceiling violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, which states, “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.” They claim that having a debt ceiling opens up the possibility that the government would not be able to pay its obligations if a spending bill increased the debt beyond what the ceiling was set at.
So, what do you think? Should the United States Have a Debt Ceiling? Students may answer Yes, it should; No, it should not; or a nuanced answer in between! Be sure to submit your answer by 10/25 to be considered for this week’s prize.
Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:
-Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner
-Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers
-Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors
-They address counter-arguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner
-They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly