House Republicans use the phony-baloney “debt ceiling” to hold the U.S. hostage and cut programs we really need

Mainstream news media keep giving credibility to Republican propaganda about the “debt ceiling.”

The “debt ceiling” is NOT in the Constitution.  It is simply a law that could be repealed, but Democrats keep failing to take that necessary action.  Congress has routinely increased it — including in every year of the Trump regime — but when Republican Newt Gingrich had power in the House and when Democrats Obama and Biden have been President, Republicans act like terrorists and hold our nation hostage and threaten to shut down our government because they want to cut spending for programs we really need, including Social Security and Medicare.

The “debt ceiling” is not a legitimate way to change the federal budget.  It really is about WHETHER THE U.S. GOVERNMENT WILL PAY ITS BILLS FOR MONEY ALREADY APPROPRIATED BY CONGRESS AND ALREADY SPENT.  Republicans want the U.S. to STIFF the people who hold U.S. bonds or other debt instruments.

President Biden and Congressional Democrats should NOT negotiate with Republicans about this BLATANTLY STUPID, PHONY-BALONEY “crisis.”

The Constitution’s 14th Amendment says, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.”



In 1917 Congress passed the “Liberty Bond Act of 1917” in order to borrow money so it could pay for World War I through “Liberty Bonds.”  The federal government’s debt NEVER was used ad a political weapon until Republican Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999.  He used the “debt ceiling” as an illegitimate way to force President Clinton to cut the budget.

In 2011 the Republican House nearly caused the U.S. to default on its debt before President Obama caved in to them and allowed caps on future spending.

During the Trump regime, the debt increased $7.8 TRILLION.  This came partly because he and Congress SLASHED TAXES ON RICH PEOPLE AND BIG BUSINESS, so they shrank the revenue stream and ESCALATED THE BUDGET DEFICIT AND THE FEDERAL DEBT.  But you never hear Republicans criticize Trump and Congress for that reckless act of fiscal malpractice!


President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen could SIMPLY IGNORE the “debt ceiling” and let the Republicans call their bluff.  Instead of caving in to them — as happened in n1995, 2011, and 2013, they could simply denounce the “debt ceiling” as a phony-baloney gimmick.

In 1974 Congress passed the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974.  An expert has explained how  this undermines the sense that the “debt ceiling” is legitimate.  The Constitution’s separation of powers authorizes the President to take necessary actions such as paying the bills for which Congress has appropriated the money, and which the government has lawfully spent.

Republicans are threatening to crash the U.S. government’s credibility as a borrower.  The “Big Money” entities that really dominate the government would not allow the Republicans to follow through on their threat to default.  Behind the scenes, “Big Money” entities would tell the Republicans to stop their nonsense and stop holding the U.S. economy hostage.













About GlenAnderson 1515 Articles
Since the late 1960s Glen Anderson has devoted his life to working as a volunteer for peace, nonviolence, social justice, and progressive political issues. He has worked through many existing organizations and started several. Over the years he has worked especially for such wide-ranging goals as making peace with Vietnam, eliminating nuclear weapons, converting from a military economy to a peacetime economy, abolishing the death penalty, promoting nonviolence at all levels throughout society, and helping people organize and strategize for grassroots movements to solve many kinds of problems. He writes, speaks, and conducts training workshops on a wide variety of topics. Since 1987 he has produced and hosted a one-hour cable TV interview program on many kinds of issues. Since 2017 he has blogged at He lives in Lacey near Olympia WA. You can reach him at (360) 491-9093