The debt ceiling shouldn’t be a suicide pact…

The debt ceiling has been an evolving creature since 1917 and started life as something of a thought exercise. In handing over some of their spending power (a Legislative Branch function) to the Treasure (an Executive Branch department), long dead Members of Congress thought that if their future selves had to have their votes counted in order for the U.S. Government to continue taking on large tranches of debt, maybe it would restrain them from profligate borrowing. Some of the more wild-eyed optimists among them, I’m sure, thought that it might even usher in a new day of not constantly spending more money than the federal government takes in.

For most of the last hundred years, though, raising the debt ceiling became just a normal part of doing business. No serious person ever considered putting the United States Government in a position where it would default on its lawfully begotten debts. That’s changed in the last 20-30 years, of course. I suspect there’s now more than a few Members of Congress who would cheer on a default and smile for the cameras while they watched the resulting economic chaos.

Republican controlled Congresses have raised the debt ceiling. Democratic controlled Congresses have raised the debt ceiling. Divided Congresses have raised the debt ceiling. Presidents of both parties have presided over these increases while gnashing their teeth about runaway spending.

Can we please, then, just stop pretending that the debt ceiling is anything more than a bomb we’ve allowed to grow in the heart of the government? With the total federal debt now standing at $31 trillion dollars, let us admit that the debt ceiling is a work of fiction that has don’t nothing to stand between us and racking up unimaginable levels of indebtedness. The only thing it’s really done is create a mechanism by which it’s possible to decimate the global economy if the hands of the incompetents and ideologues now serving in Congress. Better that this failed experiment in limiting federal spending be put on the ash heap of history than allowing it to linger around like some kind of damned suicide pact.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. HOA meetings. My neighborhood’s annual Homeowners Association meeting is scheduled tonight and leaving the house to attend this thing that’s happening a couple of thousand yards away from my back door feels onerous. Just the thought of having to do something like that every week or, gods forbid, multiple times of the week sends me into mild fits and twitches. I admire the hell out of you guys out there who have a couple of kids who you chase around to practices, performances, or games after work. I think it’s clear that the lack of “personal staff time” under those circumstances would make me certifiably crazy in short order.

2. Republicans/Trump/the Media made someone send these bombs. Bullshit. This is the same argument from people who want to believe beer companies make someone drive drunk or fast food joints are making us all get fat. You know who’s responsible for the dumb shit I do? Me. Not the president, not the media, not McDonald’s, not Budweiser. I’m responsible for my decisions and actions, even in this age that wants very badly to tell us that we should just blame things on someone else rather than take even the tiniest measure of personal accountability. If you want to live a life where you’re always the victim of someone else’s dastardly designs, I don’t suppose I can stop you, but it’s sure as hell not a world I ever intend to live in.

3. The rule of three. Sometimes making WAJTW a triple-topic post bites me in the ass. Usually that happens when the biggest things that annoy me are still holding over from the previous week or when it’s something that feels like it could (or has) featured every week. I mean there’s only so many times I can say some version of “people in general annoy the living hell out of me.” It’s always a true fact, but I like to have specific points of announce to point at rather than just the fact that people and their infinite capacity for stupidity continue to exist.