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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion politics

OPINION: Republicans using the debt ceiling as a weapon is irresponsible

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As I am sure many Americans have heard by now, the debt ceiling is quickly being approached. From both sides of the political spectrum, a diverse number of stances have been shared. 

However, in order for me to make my argument, it is important to understand three concepts: what is the debt ceiling? What would happen if it were reached? And why are House Republicans using it as a political weapon? 

According to The White House, the debt ceiling is, “a ceiling imposed by Congress on the amount of debt that the U.S. Federal government can have outstanding.”  

In other words, once the limit is reached, the U.S. can no longer use it as a primary payment method and would have to rely on expendable income from taxes and other sources. 

On the effects, The Council on Foreign Relations said, “Some experts say that would herald chaos for the U.S. and global economies. Even short of default, hitting the debt ceiling would hamstring the government’s ability to finance its operations, including providing for the national defense or funding entitlements such as Medicare or Social Security.”  

[Related: OPINION: The Republican Party is eating itself alive and America is better for it]

Even though the debt limit is on track to be reached by Thursday the U.S. treasury is enacting “extraordinary measures” that would push a total default away until early June. 

Given that a total economic collapse is at stake, why are Republicans procrastinating on raising the ceiling? Put simply, they want to get policy out of it.  

According to CNN, House Republicans are ready to use their majority in the house to leverage the debt ceiling in order to pass legislation that would have been ignored by the White House and Senate. 

It can now be inferred that they are using the ceiling as a political weapon to further the ends of their own agenda. Not only is this irresponsible given that an economic collapse is at stake, but it also makes the Republican party look incompetent since threats are their only way to get legislation through. In other words, they struggle to do it through the intended methods. 

According to the same article, Kevin McCarthy the current Speaker of the House insists that the blame rests on the shoulders of Biden. 

[Related: Indiana Republican Jim Banks launches U.S. Senate bid]

“I don’t think (Biden) would ever want to be irresponsible and childish, and not sit and negotiate, especially when you think about the ramifications to the economics of our country,” he said. “So we’ve got a timeline here, let’s sit down, let’s not play political games.” 

The argument could be made that the one sitting in the middle of calamity is really the one that is “irresponsible and childish” rather than the one who has no direct control over the situation. Furthermore, is Biden really the one who is playing “political games” in this situation? Absolutely not. It is more likely that the one who is holding impending demise in their hands and making demands so that they release it is the one who is really playing games. 

The exact same logic would apply if the democrats were to attempt this stunt as well. It is simply not worth the risk of threatening the stability of the US dollar. Again, if the limit were to be hit the U.S. would not be able to pay for items like Social Security, government workers’ salaries and tax refund.  Some toys are just not meant to be played with. Especially those toys that can ruin the lives of millions of people. 

Owen Darland (he/him) is a freshman studying international studies and journalism.  

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