WTF is the Debt Ceiling and What Does the Wall Have to Do With It?
By: Kayla Pasacreta
In a particularly classic set of Trump tweets this week, Trump continued to play his favorite blame game. Though the Twitter feud may be funny, the debt ceiling is very serious.
When things haven’t gone Trump’s way with healthcare, the debt ceiling, or basically anything, he’s diverted to critiquing some of the most powerful Republicans. Seriously, he spares no one. He’s even publicly criticized the Department of Justice he appointed.
This week, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are facing Trump’s wrath. Respectively the most powerful Republicans in the House and Senate, they make excellent scapegoats when Trump is unable to pass major legislation he’s promised to pass. Just last month, Mitch McConnell failed four times to repeal Obamacare. Despite crafty ideas like repealing Obamacare with no replacement, the Senate wasn’t having it. The healthcare failures in the Republican-led Senate reveals a very ideologically separated Republican Party. So, it’s no surprise the party is struggling to agree on a way to fix the debt ceiling.
What is the debt ceiling, you ask?
a legal cap on how much the U.S. government is allowed to borrow
According to the Washington Post, “the Treasury Department will soon run out of money to pay its bills, triggering a first-in-modern-U.S.-history default that threatens to turn the world economy on its head. A default would crack the world’s faith in the United States’ ability to pay its bills and repay its loans, and that faith serves as the underpinning of the entire global financial system.”
The floating estimate is that the Congress has until October 2nd to figure out how to fund the government, before the government ends up #broke, and won’t have sufficient funds to pay all bills due that day.
If there is no solution to fund the government, a total and complete government shutdown must occur.
What’s at stake if we can’t raise the debt ceiling?
The Treasury Department would have a difficult time borrowing money; likely acquiring a low AAA credit score.
The Treasury Department would have to pick who can be paid on time, and what benefactors to pay. The Department would also have to pick what programs to continue funding: to help Social Security, Medicare, Veterans Affairs, welfare recipients, or government workers?
The stock market would likely crash, possibly tunneling into a recession.
During Trump’s rally on Tuesday, Trump insisted he’s not budging on funding the wall, “If we have to close down our government, we're building that wall.” In the past, Donald Trump repeatedly said Mexico would fund the wall, despite the country’s vow to not pay for it. Now, Trump is scrambling to get the wall built: with American tax dollars.
Paul Ryan dissented with the President, stating, "I don't think a government shutdown is necessary and I don't think most people want to see a government shutdown, ourselves included.” Republicans are facing a slippery slope: to adhere to(y'alls) President’s wall request or quickly push for a bill Republicans and Democrats can agree on to prevent on a shutdown. If a provision for wall funding is in the bill, it’s likely Democrats will not be in support. Is the wall really important enough when millions of Americans are at stake?
There is no logical reason the government should shutdown. Donald Trump needs a lesson on compromise, and a grasp of reality that most Americans don't even support wall funding. Donald, don't let your dream to build a great wall keep you from remembering your job: to look out for the American people.