Just when most Americans thought the country had avoided an economic meltdown when we swerved away from the fiscal cliff earlier this month, comes another crisis that threatens to throw the U.S. economy into an even worse calamity. Rather than creating peace, this swerve merely set Congress and the Obama administration up for another fiscal battle, this time over the debt ceiling.
The federal government’s spending obligations will exceed its cash on hand and borrowing authority as soon as mid-February and unless Congress increases the debt ceiling, the federal government won’t be able to pay for things like Social Security, veterans’ benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, unemployment insurance, federal employee salaries and disaster relief –or send out income tax refunds. Since Congress has shown no desire to allow the administration to borrow a penny more than $16,394,000,000,000, creative minds are coming up with some imaginative ways to avoid hitting the debt ceiling. Here are some of them.