The Real Issue in Government Shutdowns | 2/1/2018 | Staff
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Before “Cryin’ Chuck” Schumer caved, the most recent skirmish over the federal government shutting down was about an issue that is entirely unrelated to keeping it open. But that’s usually the case. In 2013, the shutdown was about ObamaCare funding, this year it was all about the so-called DACA “Dreamers” and their desire to obtain legal status, which is even more unrelated. One wonders how many Americans know what Congress has always done to avoid or to end a shutdown. What Congress has done each time to end these spats is: raise the “debt ceiling,” also called the “debt limit.”

In past shutdown debates, some have raised the possibility of “default” if Congress were to not raise the debt limit. The webpage for Debt Limit at Treasury is mainly a bunch of links to government documents going back seven years, but it does have three short paragraphs of text, including this one:

Debt - Limit - Consequences - Government - Obligations

Failing to increase the debt limit would have catastrophic economic consequences. It would cause the government to default on its legal obligations -- an unprecedented event in American history. That would precipitate another financial crisis and threaten the jobs and savings of everyday Americans -- putting the United States right back in a deep economic hole, just as the country is recovering from the recent recession [italics added].

That’s loose talk, don’t buy it, Congress has shut down the government several times and the republic still stands. On Dec. 20, Forbes ran “10 Things You Need To Know About The Debt Ceiling And Potential Government Shutdown” by Jeffrey Dorfman, and item #3 on his list is: “Not raising the debt ceiling does not mean a default or not paying our debts.”

Default - Obligations - Interest - US - Debt

Default is when you can’t meet your “legal obligations,” such as paying the interest on U.S. debt, and paying government...
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