Fiscal Responsibility

Stark Warning From Treasury: US Must Pay Its Bills

As the Republican government shutdown continues, we are less than two weeks away from another manufactured Republican fiscal crisis on the debt limit. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew offered a stark warning in USA Today about the economic harm of America not paying its bills. Here’s a snippet:

“This is not a debate about reducing future spending or cutting the deficit. This is about making sure the United States can meet its existing obligations to our citizens, businesses and investors — and the stakes could not be higher.”

“If the United States cannot pay its bills in full and on time, each and every American will be affected, including seniors who rely on Social Security, veterans who depend on disability payments, children in need of food assistance, and doctors and hospitals who treat Medicare patients, among others. The stock market, including investments in retirement accounts, could tumble, and it could become more expensive for Americans to buy a car, own a home and open a small business.”

“We cannot put our nation in the position of not paying its bills because Congress has refused to raise the country's debt limit. It is important to note that increasing the debt limit does not give the government the ability to spend more money.”

“An increase in the debt limit simply allows us to pay our bills. Without a debt limit increase, our government will — in a matter of days — not have the resources it needs to make good on its commitments. Only Congress has the power to lift the debt limit. That means only Congress can clear the way for our government to meet all of its financial obligations. The United States has met all its financial obligations for more than 200 years. We are a nation that keeps our word. We are a nation that stands behind our full faith and credit.”