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Why Any Debt Limit Negotiation?

January 16th, 2013

Headline in WaPo Wonkblog:

Top Bush administration economists: Don’t default. Do use the debt limit negotiations to rein in deficits.

Why should there be any ‘negotiation’ at all?  What’s to negotiate?  Raising the debt limit is not about spending more money; it’s about paying for what’s been spent, paying the bills.  Negotiation is when there’s a question of how much should be spent; but the debt is money we owe.  We can negotiate about how much should be spent in the future: that’s called the ‘budget negotiations,’ and that’s sure to be a doozy of a session.  We can also argue about how much to restore of the funds in the ‘sequester’.  But the debt ceiling?  Not open to discussion.

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