U.S. debt ceiling on the horizon


(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in Washington.

Maia Echols, The Carroll News

The United States is estimated to reach its debt ceiling on Oct. 18. The debt ceiling, also known as the debt limit, is the amount of money that the government is allowed to borrow. The United States currently spends much more money than it brings in, which means that not only is money being borrowed, but it is in large sums. According to The Washington Post, the United States previously reached its debt ceiling in July. If the debt ceiling is reached again, and the government defaults on its loans, what would happen to the United States?

If the government does end up running out of cash and does not legislate any extension for the debt ceiling, it would hurt many people financially. This is only if the United States defaulted on its debt. Luckily, this has never happened. The government is notorious for waiting until the last minute to raise the debt ceiling, so there is hope that this will end up being the case this time. Marketplace.org says that the impact on everyday life would be felt “immediately,” the government would be unable to pay their federal workers. Not only would people be going home without pay, but other people would not be receiving their social security or other benefits.

The practice of instituting a debt ceiling began in 1917. Since then, the debt level has grown to be about $28.3 trillion dollars, and the United States is close to exceeding this. According to CNN, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says that they will take “extraordinary measures” to ensure that the debt ceiling is not reached, or that it will be heightened.

A White House official told cnbc.com that Congress must raise the debt limit to pay for their spending. Michael Walsh ‘25 says, “one thing to keep in mind is that federal employees want their pay, it sounds pretty scary but also the government shutting down would be worse.” Should Congress raise the debt limit? Or would it be best for the federal government to go into a total shutdown in order to recuperate? The decision that the government makes will be made by determining what is best for the citizens of America.