One of the most highly controversial topics in the United States right now is the Debt Ceiling issue. Basically, U.S. lawmakers are debating whether they should increase the country’s debt ceiling and, if yes, by how much. Much of their disagreement and discussion focus on the policy implications once the limit is raised.
Background of the Debt Ceiling Issue
Like any regular sovereign state, the United States relies on borrowings to finance its spending. In fact, the United States is the #1 borrower in the world, with total external debt amounting to $14.3 trillion as of May 2011.
That’s where the problem lies. The United States is limited by law to borrow a certain amount. This limit, or debt ceiling, is currently pegged at $14.3 trillion. However, according to the U.S. Treasury, this limit was reached in May 16, 2011 and the country only has enough money to spend until August 2, 2011 — a few days from today.