Some people may have been shocked when the credit-rating firm Moody's recently suggested that the debt-ceiling law be repealed, in order to avoid fiscal crises which can throw world financial markets into turmoil that can injure countries around the world. Anyone who wants to show that Moody's is wrong should be prepared to show the actual benefits of the debt-ceiling, not its goals or hopes. That will not be easy, if possible at all. . . .
The national debt-ceiling law should be judged by what it actually does, not by how good an idea it seems to be. The one thing that the national debt-ceiling has never done is to put a ceiling on the rising national debt. Time and time again, for years on end, the national debt-ceiling has been raised whenever the national debt gets near whatever the current ceiling might be.
Regardless of what it is supposed to do, what the national debt-ceiling actually does is enable any administration to get all the political benefits of runaway spending for the benefit of their favorite constituencies—and then invite the opposition party to share the blame, by either raising the national debt ceiling, or by voting for unpopular cutbacks in spending or increases in taxes.