Why the U.S. Is Having Yet Another Debt Ceiling Debate

The very phrase “debt ceiling” sounds austere and restrictive, as if it’s a lid on government spending. In fact, the U.S. federal debt limit was first conceived more than a century ago to make it easier, not harder, for the government to borrow money. But it morphed into an explosive political tool with the potential to roil financial markets, since a failure to raise the debt ceiling could eventually result in a first-ever default on some of the government’s obligations.

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