Because the national debt is fast approaching its legal limit of $14.294 trillion, Congress is yet again facing the dilemma of raising the debt ceiling so the federal government can borrow more money or allowing the government to default on its obligations and possibly shut down.
Beginning in 1917, Congress established statutory limits on federal debt. Since 1939, these limits have been combined into one aggregate debt limit. The debt ceiling was "only" $49 billion in 1940. Surprisingly, it was actually lowered five times, in 1946, 1956, 1960, and twice in 1963, before growing to $1 trillion by September of 1981.
The Treasury Department anticipates the current debt ceiling will be reached between April 15 and May 31. Not raising the debt limit would have "catastrophic" consequences, says Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. "Congress has to do it. There's no alternative," he
|Liveleak on Facebook|