The Debt Ceiling and Why I’m Rooting for a Default

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

It would be hard to not know that the Republicans and Democrats are fighting over the debt ceiling. Well, not exactly the debt ceiling. They both agree that the ceiling needs to be raised. The fight is over what will be in the bill that raises the debt ceiling.

First of all, the fact that there is a debt ceiling is dumb. What’s the point if Congress raises the ceiling every time we approach it? There is effectively no ceiling at all if it keeps going up and up. It’s nothing more than a bad excuse for silly political posturing.

But what I really want to talk about is the fact that I’m rooting for a default. I know, I know, a default would be disastrous. According to Wikipedia (I know, I know),

if the federal government defaulted, America’s credit rating would experience a drastic downgrade, interest rates on Treasury bonds would go up sharply, interest rates both in the U.S. and worldwide would spike, and payments on benefits (such as social security) and salaries for the military would be stopped. Other potential consequences of a default would include reduced consumer confidence, a recession, immediately stopping about 10% of the American economy, increasing the cost of a 30-year mortgage, losing three million jobs in the U.S., and increasing the national debt due to higher interest rates.

That sounds awfully bad. It’s scary to think about.

So why am I rooting for a default? It’s not that I’m some kind of anarchist who wants to watch the world burn. It’s that I’m out of other ideas. We need drastic changes in this country. The last time we were able to make those kinds of drastic changes to our society was during the Great Depression. We needed a shock that big to generate the political will to get it done. Nothing since has come close. Not the oil crisis and stagflation in the 70s. Not the Great Recession of 2008. If anything, those events helped solidify what has become the status quo.

We need another Great Depression type shock to our system. A US debt default may be just what is needed for changes to happen.

Now, I know a US debt default is not going to happen, and it’s easy to root for something when you know it’s not going to happen. But a guy can dream, can’t he? A default could lead to some legitimate changes, which would be nice.

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