What is the Debt Ceiling
In 1917 the Debt Ceiling law was passed, which allowed the executive branch to issue bonds and take on other debt without congressional approval, as long as the total debt fell under the statutory debt ceiling.
When the debt ceiling is reached, a vote to increase the debt ceiling is needed to continue spending that has already been approved previously by the Congress and the President. It is NOT a vote to increase future spending regardless of what some politicians or political pundits want you to think. It is simply a vote to pay for debts that have already been accumulated.
The debt ceiling is also a perfect example of why sensible Americans hate Congress. Congress passes budgets and tells the President what he, or potentially she, can spend in any given year. If the amount Congress wants to spend exceeds the revenues the government takes in, then the government needs to borrow money to cover the spending; which results in budget deficits.
If these budget deficits occur year after year eventually the debt ceiling is reached again and needs to be raised; otherwise, the United States would start to default on its debt.
Both parties, Republicans and Democrats, are equally responsible for the budget deficits in the United States of America.
Since 1980, spending and revenues have been completely out-of-whack in America, and both parties are equal in the blame. However, actually threatening to NOT raise the debt ceiling, and thereby causing the United States of America to default on its debts is simply irresponsible behavior, that would have disatorous global economic implications.
The debt ceiling has been raised 75 times since 1962. It was usually done without much fanfare until 2011, when a Republican controlled House of Representative refused to raise the debt ceiling without significant budget cuts.
The resulting stand off led to a last minute deal to raise the debt ceiling. This irrational stand off ultimately caused a downgrade in America's credit rating from AAA to AA.
The bottom line is this:
Americans tend to blame Presidents for the budget deficit problems in America way more than they deserve. If you want to really discover the root of the problems in America in regards to its deficit problems, then look no furthur then your local members of Congress. They deserve much more of the blame than any one President ever will.
Remember American Civics 101:
President Proposes - puts forward for consideration, discussion, or adoption.
Congress Disposes - puts affairs into correct, definitive, or conclusive form. (i.e. Creates and passes budgets.)
Past and present members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats alike, hold the ultimate blame for America's debt problems. They and they alone pass the budgets, which they then send to the President to sign and carry out.
When all is said and done, the debt ceiling has to be raised; otherwise, every American will pay a huge price economically in one form or another. If Congress wants to control their spending, then they should do it during regular yearly budget negotiations, but NOT by taking the American and global economies off a cliff by defaulting on its debt.