The people are TIRED. After both Trump and Biden administrations have been reluctant to simply give people enough cash to not struggle in a pandemic (and after Congress just approved a billion dollars to fund Israel’s “Iron Dome”), the US Treasury secretary announced the U.S. could run out of money to pay its debts on October 18.
The jokes have come pouring in on social media, with folks on the Internet brainstorming ways for the U.S. to earn the money, and trying to figure out how we got here. Bless CNN’s quote tweets, because they are in shambles!
“Give them $1200 that should be more then enough,” quipped one Twitter user, referring to the $1200 checks authorized by Congress around the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.
“What y’all gettin at their everything must go sale? Imma get the Declaration of Independence,” said writer Hanna Phifer.
One user joked about the cash-strapped government by referencing the plot of some fiction stories.
Someone else posted a mock budget, digging at the government’s astronomical defense budget.
Jokes aside, the fundamental issue is that our government operates with a a lot of debt ($28 trillion of it) in order to fund many of our expenses. Operating with a deficit is normal and, to some economists, a way to actually afford all our social services since we’re not getting enough tax revenue (and we know how little the rich want to be taxed).
Treasury Secretary Yellen’s announcement on Tuesday was to make it clear that the debt ceiling has to be raised to avoid major economic fallout and afford those expenses, and only Congress can raise or suspend it.
Secretary Yellen issued this warning after Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would suspend the debt ceiling and prevent a government shutdown, the Washington Post reports.
“Senate Democrats tried to raise the debt ceiling again Tuesday afternoon, but they were blocked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Republicans,” the outlet noted.
While our government has been stingy, Republicans are prone to be even stingier when it comes to funding social services. Some have tied Biden’s proposed economic plans—healthcare, childcare, and education funding through the reconciliation bill, and the separate infrastructure bill— to the country’s massive debt, even though much of that debt preceded his administration.
Despite the infrastructure bill being bi-partisan, some House Republican leaders are reportedly urging their colleagues to reject it on the premise that it will create more debt and ease the path to more spending.
It’s unclear if this will be resolved before the U.S. runs out of cash to pay its debts. In the meantime, we’ll be laughing through the pain.