Thursday, July 22, 2021

For the Record: Debt Ceiling

The original debt ceiling crisis of 2011, as captured by cartoonist Jen Sorensen.

Did you all realize that the US debt ceiling actually doesn't exist, and hasn't existed for the past eight years? Though it will return, like a zombie, at the end of the month if Congress doesn't manage to stop it.

I did know, without realizing I did until our friend Dr. Volts asked:

But I think the coin idea is too gimmicky, and misleading to the public, which will always think it ought to be spent, which is the one thing that absolutely shouldn't be done with it. For raising money, as I've been saying, taxation is the thing, especially when there's $68 trillion out there in the hands of people with so much money that they are literally unable to spend it.

You may wonder how I, a notorious non-economist, found out about all this stuff, so I'll tell you something about it, briefly—it goes back to my crazed crusade against Modern Monetary Theory of last spring, when one particularly astute commenter told me I wasn't doing economics at all, but accounting, and I realized it was true. Accounting is actually better than economics, in my view. It's much more in touch with human social reality, and can't get snaggled by high-class metaphysical witticisms like MMT. Anyway, since then, when I get annoyed by something like the debt ceiling, I read about it in the understanding that it's not economics, merely accounting, and that makes it totally comprehensible.

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names

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