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What To Do About the Debt Ceiling – Oliver DeMille

debt-ceilingWe’re hearing a lot on the news these days about America’s debt ceiling and the danger of defaulting on our national debt.

But the way this is being portrayed in the media is mostly a lie.

No matter what Congress does on the debt ceiling, whether they raise it or not, we bring in 10 times as much in taxes every month as we need to keep paying the debt.

Let me repeat this:

The U.S. government brings in enough tax money each month to pay the debt, which means it won’t default, and have 90 percent left over to pay for other things.

It is true that the government won’t be able to pay for everything it currently buys, but this is actually a good idea. We need to cut spending, bring down the national debt, and reduce our incredibly high deficit.

The media will put a lot of pressure on Republicans to raise the debt ceiling, but doing so will only allow Washington to spend even more money. In what universe does this make any sense?

Democrats want to raise the debt ceiling because as a rule they want the government to spend more. Many Republicans right now want to raise the debt ceiling as well, but only if they can cut something so we don’t go even more into the red.

The parties will argue about this until almost everyone is tired of it, and they will criticize, call names, posture, and blame.

Then someone will cave in and we’ll increase the government’s spending. Get ready for this.

Or, I have a different suggestion. Granted, I’m an independent because I’m not very impressed with either party. So here’s my independent proposal for how to handle the debt ceiling debate:

Lower it.

That’s right. Vote to lower the debt ceiling. We’ve got the money to make the payments on the debt, so we don’t have to default no matter what the Administration claims (and it’s going to call it a default even though it isn’t).

But if Congress lowers the debt ceiling, we’ll have to cut government spending. That’s a good thing. In fact, if we don’t cut spending, our nation’s decline is only going to spread and deepen.

Don’t default on our national debt. Use the nation’s monthly income to service our debt and pay for truly essential services. And, in addition, lower the debt ceiling.

Seriously, lower the debt ceiling. That’s my vote. I know neither party is suggesting this. They’re just arguing about whether to raise it or leave it at the current level.

But let’s be clear: the current level is bad. Let’s get our fiscal house in order.

To begin, let’s lower the debt ceiling. The sooner the better.


odemille Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.


  1. Colby Lyons says

    Lowering the debt limit sounds like a great idea. I wish we had more “leaders” who would see even going in to debt as a bad idea and something to be avoided- instead of arguing how much we should go in to. The treasury web site says that we need to increase our debt limit to be able to pay our interest on the current debt. It also stated that if we don’t raise the debt limit, our nation will be in a financial crisis. Personally, it seems like if we are borrowing money to pay the interest on our current debt, we’re already in a financial crisis.

  2. Oliver,

    Where can I find the data to back up your statement that the government brings enough taxes to cover our liabilities? I want to do more research on the subject. All the information I find doesn’t support your statement and shows a deficit as Colby Lyons above stated.

    Please advise.

  3. Derek,
    Great question. Note that I didn’t say, “liabilities,” I said interest on the debt. So, we bring in approximately $222 billion a month of tax revenue, and the interest payment on the debt is between $22 and $36 billion a month. So bring in more than enough not to default on our debt.

    As for all our liabilities, we don’t bring in near enough to cover them–which is exactly why we borrow and have a deficit and nearly a $17 trillion debt. My point is that we can avoid defaulting on our debt payment, but at some point we’ve either got to reduce our liabilities or we’re going to go bankrupt.


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