It would be wrenching for the country to be faced with another showdown over the federal debt ceiling. But the solution should not be, as Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner recently suggested, to dispense with the debt ceiling because it is an inconvenient impediment to ratcheting up the national debt.
Geithner said on Nov. 16 that the debt ceiling — the cap on federal indebtedness that requires congressional approval to raise — should be eliminated.
The idea is preposterous. The debt ceiling is the only thing that forces Congress and the president to confront the results of their out-of-control spending….
Doing away with the ceiling would stoke problems down the road in exchange for short-term expediency. President Barack Obama cannot stand for re-election, and Geithner already is on his way out the door, so long-term solutions to the nation’s burgeoning debt will not top their agendas and there will be no penalty for their irresponsibility….
Voters retained the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and the Democrat edge in the Senate despite very low approval ratings for congressional incumbents overall. This virtually guarantees a replay of some of the gamesmanship over the debt, taxes and spending cuts that accompanied last year’s failed attempts at a “grand bargain.”
— Distributed by The Associated Press