Commentary: How To End the Debt Ceiling Charade
Amend the Constitution before it’s too late
Thomas Jefferson once wrote that he wished for a single additional amendment to the U.S. Constitution, one that removed the federal government’s power to borrow. That wish is yet to come to fruition, but bipartisan financial impotence at the federal level makes a constitutional constraint more necessary than ever.
The official $14.5 trillion debt roughly equals the nation’s annual economic output, but contrary to claims, federal politicians have failed to cut a billion dollars in spending. Forget the $1.4 trillion dollar cut necessary to balance the books in 2011, as the Congressional Budget Office projects. And even that wouldn’t address the $211 trillion of unfunded liabilities, as estimated by Larry Kotlikoff, a Boston University economics professor and author of The Coming Generational Storm.