Cassidy O’Toner | Writer
October 8, 2021
On August 1, 2021, the Federal Government reached its debt limit. This means that the U.S. Treasury will shortly run out of funds to sustain the government and is now forced to limit its spending in an attempt to remain below it. Imposed by Congress, the limit is currently set at $28.4 trillion. However, analyzing the current situation the government is in, it appears that this number may be temporarily altered.
Given the dire state of the US Treasury, it is safe to assume that drastic action needs to be taken, and quickly. According to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the government will likely run out of “extraordinary measures” by October 18 if no alternative decision is made. By this date, if no changes are made, the government will stall without enough money to continue normal operations.
But not to worry. An ingenious plan has been concocted to make this problem go away. The solution? Minting a trillion dollar coin to pay off our debts. “That doesn’t make any sense,” senior Nathan Brislen said. Now, as ridiculous as that suggestion sounds (and it is quite ridiculous), it still remains a legal, if not slightly hilarious, solution. But luckily, this option does not appear to amuse many of the Congress men and women as much as it does the rest of the American people.
While the likelihood of a trillion dollar coin being minted is highly improbable, the fact that the option exists demonstrates how alarming the situation of the federal government actually is.
Thankfully, this was not the only solution posed. Another way to stem this issue is to temporarily raise the debt capacity. While there is still a great deal of controversy regarding this solution, it could be one of the few options left given the time constraints. Democrats in Congress are striving to raise the debt ceiling, but Republicans are pushing back. Despite the benefit that this extension would provide for millions of Americans, it appears as though each party is going to hold fast to their beliefs.
“The commitment to people’s party is so stupid,” senior Sage Brislen said. “You’re not paid to sit in Congress to go along with whatever your party is supposed to vote for.”
However, despite the tedious bickering among opposing parties, one of the greatest criticisms of this option is the precedent it will set for future issues. If it can be allowed once, who’s to say it won’t be allowed again? Regardless of the validity of this argument, it is difficult to weigh future issues when potential catastrophe is merely days away.
So what’s really at stake here? Another government shutdown. And, as we saw from the frequency of this occurrence during the Trump administration, it’s not a fun experience. Millions of Americans will be affected. Essentially, any and all benefits and payments distributed by the government will be immediately halted. Social Security payments will not go out, U.S. troops and federal civilian employees will not be paid, veterans may see compensation or pension payment lapses, and American families on federal food assistance will not be able to get food.
No matter the path Congress chooses to take, it’s apparent that a decision needs to be made quickly. If one isn’t reached in time and no extension is made, the American people may be faced with an economic crisis.