Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ben Bernanke: Get rid of the debt ceiling, it has no practical value

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke criticized the debt ceiling as an unusual device that can be used to prevent the United States from paying it’s bills, as he suggested that the country would be better off if the debt limit did not exist.
“I think it would be a good thing if we didn’t have [the debt ceiling],” Bernanke told students at the University of Michigan today. “I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think it’s going to be around.” Those remarks put Bernanke in agreement with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who has said that Congress should eliminate the debt ceiling.
The conversation began when Bernanke was asked if the debt ceiling had any “practical value” as a matter of fiscal policy. “No, it doesn’t really have — it’s got symbolic value,  I guess, but . . . no other countries in the world have this particular institution,” he said.
“If the Congress is approving spending and it’s approving taxing, and those two things are not equal,” Bernanke continued, “the way to addres it is by having a sensible plan for spending and a sensible plan for revenue and make decisions about how big the government should be or how small it should be.”