In a recent letter to congressional leaders, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that without raising the debt ceiling, “the most likely outcome is that cash and extraordinary measures will be exhausted during the month of October,” and that “waiting until the last minute” to tackle the issue could “cause serious harm to business and consumer confidence.”
Defaulting is a bad option for everyone — sending a terrible message around the world about our reliability. A full default by the U.S. government has never occurred. But fights over the debt ceiling have occasionally unnerved investors. In 2011, when Republicans demanded policy changes in exchange for a higher debt limit, stock prices fell amid the uncertainty, and Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. debt rating.
The best solution for our fiscal woes is the hardest one: bipartisanship. If both political parties put aside their differences and work together in September and October, we might just get through this upcoming financial crisis and discover a new national spirit of generosity to help each other and the nation.
This week marks a Jewish holiday called Yom Kippur. The theme is forgiveness and atonement. It is a time to repent for the sins of the past and rededicate ourselves to working as a community to do better in the next year.
Maybe our policymakers should do the same.