Throughout the entire debt ceiling debate, there was one thing that both sides in this partisan feud have consistently agreed upon --the U.S. cannot afford to default on its obligations, financially or morally. And lo and behold, after a three-week legislative slug fest, an 11th-hour deal has again saved the nation from ruin and momentarily pushed us back from the edge of the cliff.
For those keeping count at home, that's at least the second time in as many years that we've pushed the default risk right to the brink. It's a reality that begs the question, does it really need to be like this or should we just do away with the entire notion of a debt ceiling and end this madness forever? After all, it's hard to argue that when Congress makes a decision to spend money that they aren't simultaneously also making a decision to pay for what they've purchased.
For veteran market watcher Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago, these man-made crises serve a purpose. "Politics is a messy process," he says in the attached video "but ultimately I think it is a good thing."
Maybe so, but a growing number of tired and increasingly agitated debt ceiling refugees, including President Obama, are on the other side of the debate and want to end these high-stakes showdowns once and for all.
"I know these are obligations that we've already made but on the other hand, I like having a circuit breaker there or at least a limit so we don't have a runaway situation," Ablin says of a policy update that just lifted the country's credit line to about $18,000,000,000,000.
As he and many others see it, as painful and risky and unnecessary as the ensuing weeks have been, it's better than having no debt limit whatsoever.
"It does cause the debate. It's a stopper, a way to reset, a way to force a discussion," he says.
So whether you love it, hate it or simply deal with the ongoing debt ceiling debate, it's a pretty safe bet to say that we haven't seen the last of it.
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