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IN OUR VIEW/Debt and Fiction; Once again the government is running out of money

November 17, 2021 at 10:00 p.m.

As summer gave way to fall, Republicans and Democrats fought over raising the debt ceiling as the U.S. approached defaulting on its financial obligations.

Finally, in October, Congress passed a short term solution raising the cap on government borrowing by $480 million.

Soon they get to do it all over again.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said this week the federal government will be out of cash by December 15.

That's actually a bit better than her earlier estimate of December 3. But it still means another partisan battle -- one that will come just weeks after President Joe Biden signed legislation committing $1 trillion in spending on infrastructure (and assorted add-ons.)

The idea of a debt ceiling is to control government borrowing. But it doesn't. How long can this fiction go on?

It looks like both sides in Washington think they can keep this up forever.

"To ensure the full faith and credit of the United States, it is critical that Congress raise or suspend the debt limit as soon as possible," Yellen said Tuesday.

And they will. They'll do it again next time. And the time after.

But a reckoning is inevitable. You can't spend what you don't have forever.

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