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Maxing Out the Federal Credit Card

The federal government never misses a chance to max out its spending limit, according to a Mercatus Center study.

Since 2000, the debt limit has been raised 10 times. And each time, the government spent nearly to that limit, says Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

These increases serve as a “symbolic cap”, de Rugy wrote.

“They (Congress) are the ones who decide what the limit is,” de Rugy said. “On your credit card, you are not the one who determines if you deserved a higher limit. It’s a credit card company that decides whether your spending habits and payment habits make you worth an increase in your credit limit.”

Has Congress earned the increases they’ve approved?

“Absolutely not,” de Rugy said. “Absolutely not.”

The nation’s debt limit was $5.9 trillion in 2000. The debt reached $5.5 trillion that year.

The debt limit jumped to $8.1 trillion in 2004 and the debt itself then went to $7.3 trillion. The debt limit was upped to $10.6 trillion in 2008 when President Bush left office, and debt climbed to $9.9 trillion that year.

In 2010, the debt ceiling was $14.2 trillion and the nation’s debt increased to $13.7 trillion. The debt ceiling is projected by de Rugy to go up to $15 trillion in 2011.

According to, the U.S. is $14 trillion in debt as of Jan. 13. That would cost each taxpayer $126,846 to pay off.


See also:

National Debt Relief Amendment

States can seek constitutional amendment to end federal debt binge

The National Debt Relief Amendment Gains Momentum

Amendment to limit national debt will appeal to states

Need national debt relief?

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