Use the Debt Ceiling to Reduce the Debt

Congress will soon vote on whether to raise the national debt limit, which it has modified nearly 100 times. Having faced more than a dozen of these votes during my eight terms in Congress, I am confident the debt limit will be raised again but probably only after an unproductive spate of hyperbole and brinkmanship. The question is whether this Congress, like others, will take the opportunity to enact measures that address our national debt. I doubt it will, but there is no doubt that America is far better off with a debt limit than without one.

Today the U.S. has the largest national gross debt in its history as a percentage of gross domestic product—even larger than the debt incurred during World War II. Unlike that debt, which was an episodic price for survival, today’s is structural and growing rapidly. The Medicare and Social Security Trustees recently issued a report showing that the two largest government programs continue to careen toward insolvency.

Read more in the Wall Street Journal.