“Debtmaggedon” won’t materialize.

By a vote of 269-161 in the House last night and 74-26 in the Senate moments ago, the ceiling on the national limit on borrowing was essentially lifted. The deal that will be law the moment President Obama signs it today is not perfect. The process that forged it was appalling. Since March, I worried that the full faith and credit of the United States would be destroyed and a world of hurt would be unleashed on the American people. And I was especially fearful that the raucous Tea Party freshmen in the Republican majority would willingly let it happen.

In this fourth “Inside Voice” anthology, I reprise the pieces that tried to sound the alarm on the coming train wreck for the American people and then chronicled the debt-ceiling drama that engulfed the Capitol as the nation hurtled ever closer to the danger of default.

Speaking in the Rose Garden after Senate passage of the debt bill, Obama called it “an important first step to ensure that the nation can live within our means.” Make no mistake, the next steps will be difficult. But no matter how tough or painful they will be, may we never come this close to economic oblivion again.