The Economist calls for the end of the debt ceiling.
The debt ceiling is a peculiarly American anachronism. Until a century ago, Congress approved bond issues one at a time. Between 1917 and 1941 it consolidated those approvals into a single debt limit. The result is that America’s legislature can approve a budget that includes a deficit without approving the issuance of debt necessary to fund that deficit….
…The debt ceiling long ago outlived its usefulness. Congress already has the final say over the budget. And Republicans looking for leverage have alternatives. These include the threat of almost $90 billion of annual spending cuts due to take effect in March and, soon afterwards, the possibility of letting the authorisation for a chunk of federal spending expire, forcing the government to shut down. Though hardly ideal, both would be less destructive than default. If instead Republicans wage another fight over whether America should meet its legal obligations, they will reinforce the impression that the country can no longer be trusted. Better to scrap the debt ceiling now.
The debt limit has no practical use. It has not (obviously) prevented America from accumulating vast debts. What was once a technicality has been turned into a weapon of mass destruction. The last thing we need is irresponsible ideologues toying around with the debt ceiling and causing a global recession. End it, then deal with our fiscal situation like adults.