What with all the birth certificate brouhaha, for a few minutes there we might have forgotten about real problems. Such as what the federal government should do about hitting its debt limit, which is due to happen oh any day now.
Despite the apocalyptic rhetoric emanating from the likes of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and MSNBC's shouting head Lawrence O'Donnell, a failure to boost the nation's credit line won't mean that the U.S. can't meet its payroll or its debt obligations. Far from it.
Here's a paper from Reason columnist and Mercatus Center economist Veronique de Rugy and her colleague Jason Fichtner that lays out some plain facts on the matter:
The United States should not consider defaulting on its debt, nor should it put itself in a position where it has to postpone payment to contractors or “manage” other non-debt obligations. Neither, however, should Congress be forced to raise the debt ceiling under false pretenses. By our calculations, the United States has enough expected cash flow (tax revenue) and assets on hand to avoid either of these unattractive options until at least the end of the current fiscal year in September, perhaps even longer....
In fact, write de Rugy and Fichtner, the U.S. has about $2.4 trillion in assets it can part with to cover any shortfalls (they give a rundown of them in the paper). Better yet would be the sorts of institutional reforms, ranging from constitutional amendments to limit spending to BRAC-style actions to cut spending. They detail those too.
And check out Reason's take on the debt limit here.