Bush and Reagan admin economist: Abolish the debt ceiling law

Bush 41 and Reagan economist Bruce Bartlett is again urging the abolition of the debt ceiling:

Almost 10 years ago, I testified before the Senate Finance Committee that the debt limit should be abolished. Among the others who testified that day, including Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, no one supported my position. [..]

Unless the party holding the White House has a comfortable majority in the House of Representatives and at least 60 seats in the Senate, raising the debt limit is going to remain a means by which the minority party can impose its demands on the majority.

Even if the Treasury avoids default on government debt this week, we will inevitably have to go through the same political drama the next time the debt limit runs out and every time thereafter. And sooner or later the shoe will be on the other foot, as Democrats hold the debt limit hostage against a Republican president.

Without having written on the subject, I’ve often thought abolition of the debt ceiling would make a good example of what liberals should have been demanding in the debt ceiling fight from the very beginning, in order to make sure any deal was centered, not center-right, and certainly not extremely far right like it ended up being.

Ideally any reasonable person would agree that the debt ceiling should be repealed, mostly because never once in history has it ever actually worked. Every single time the country has neared the ceiling, the Congress has simply built a taller ceiling.

But this isn’t an ideal world. It’s a rotten, corrupt world held hostage by extremists on the right that are going to do this again with the 2012 budget and the next debt ceiling increase and anything else they can temporarily block that will harm America. Because that’s what terrorists exist to do.

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