VT professor explains debt ceiling

June 1 deadline looming
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 4:22 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the federal debt ceiling. Virginia Tech public policy professor David Bieri describes it as the limit of spending and the government meeting its legal obligations - or more simply - the government paying its bills.

Bieri says the country has hit the debt ceiling about 100 times in its current form since World War I.

“What does the federal government spend money on? Well, a lot of it now can come to that, because it’s important to understand all of it. Why is it that we need to borrow so much money? Well, because we’re spending so much. You see, the US as a nation is living way above its means. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

The government’s budget has three main spending categories: mandatory spending, discretionary spending, and paying interest on debt.

Bieri says two thirds of the government’s budget is mandatory spending.

Friday, the Congressional Budget Office released a report that says based on current trends, the deficit could double over the next 10 years even if cuts are made.

The U.S. could default as soon as June 1.