Debt Ceiling Deja Vu; Wall Street Better Watch Out, Says Task

The U.S. is nearing the roof of its spending limit and some economists are estimating that is will be reached as early as mid-October. When that time comes, Congress will have to determine whether to increase the limit or to default on the nation's debt.

By Nicole Goodkind
September 16, 2013
Yahoo! Finance

The debt ceiling cloud is looming over Congress once again.

The U.S. is nearing the roof of its spending limit - some economists estimate that it will be reached as early as mid-October. Congress will then have to decide whether to increase the limit or to default on the nation’s debts.

Congress last increased the debt limit in 2011 to $16.7 trillion after a harrowing debate that ultimately led to the downgrade of U.S. credit by Standard and Poor’s.

It looks as though a hearty debate is once again imminent -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that President Obama will have to negotiate spending cuts if he wants the ceiling raised. "For decades, the White House and Congress have used the debt limit to find bipartisan solutions on the deficit and the debt," he said in a news conference last week.

Obama, meanwhile, has said he is unwilling to negotiate. Gene Sperling, a senior economic advisor to Obama has echoed those sentiments: "As you heard the president say, he is not going to negotiate over the debt limit, that we should not be negotiating over whether to pay our bills."

Debt ceiling talks have been overshadowed by pressing issues in Syria and the debate over the next Fed chair, but the debt debate isn’t something that should be taken lightly by the government or markets, says The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task. “You could have a government shutdown and there could be all kinds of crazy ramifications from that and I just don’t think markets are thinking very clearly about that right now.”

Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Mike Santoli points out that the debt ceiling is no longer the problem it was in 2011, “the deficit has been shrinking, the Fed has been taking down a lot of the treasury debt,” he says.

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