For the second time in two years, the nation’s economy is being held hostage to a political debate about the debt ceiling. As the President has reiterated time and again, raising the debt ceiling does not authorize any new spending, but rather simply allows us to pay our bills for expenditure decisions already made–including Social Security and Medicare commitments. The country does need to have a debate about spending and taxes, but not whether we should pay our bills. And budget mechanisms – such as pay-go financing – can be really helpful in keeping our books balanced. But the debt ceiling imposes no discipline on those important decisions and simply serves as a provision that can be exploited for political purposes by the opposition party each time the country comes close to hitting it. The debt ceiling should not be raised; it should be eliminated.