If you asked a hundred Americans what they think about the debt ceiling, 95 of them would probably say something like: “The debt whatsis now? Well, debt is bad I guess. So I’m in favor of the debt ceiling. Or opposed to it, whichever.”

Yet both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have convinced themselves that American voters are urgently preoccupied with whether the latest vote to deal with the debt ceiling is bipartisan — and will punish Democrats if no Republicans vote with them.

On Monday, congressional Democrats unveiled their strategy for dealing with the fact that sometime in October, we’re going to hit the borrowing limit: They will include a suspension of it in the short-term government funding bill that they aim to pass this month.

That’s an escalation. Republicans have threatened to filibuster any suspension of the debt limit while withholding GOP support for it, to force Democrats to raise it by simple majority in their multitrillion reconciliation bill, which Democrats don’t want to do. (The complication is that in reconciliation, Democrats can only raise it, as opposed to suspending it until a future date.)

But there’s a way out for Democrats, and it starts with acknowledging this fact: The public doesn’t care about the debt limit. It then becomes obvious: Time to eliminate the debt limit once and for all, or render it entirely inoperative as a weapon of bad faith political warfare.

Raising the debt ceiling doesn’t create more debt, it merely allows the Treasury to issue enough bonds to cover spending Congress already authorized. But now Congress has to periodically increase the ceiling or suspend it; the previous time was in 2019, when it suspended the limit for two years.

This time, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) arguments for withholding GOP support are laughably disingenuous from top to bottom. Democrats joined Republicans to suspend the debt limit under a GOP president, when much of our current debt was racked up.

So Democrats are right to want Republicans to drop their dangerous game and help suspend it again. Democrats should not be obliged to do this alone. Because of this, there’s a reasonable argument for forcing Republicans to make good on their threat and vote for default.

But still, much of the maneuvering among Democrats is based on the presumption that there will be a serious political cost to this vote. This is why Democrats want both parties to bear that cost equally (and why Republicans want Democrats to shoulder it alone).

But this presumption is limiting Democrats’ options.

The best solution of all would be to just eliminate the debt ceiling entirely or to otherwise render it inoperative. And Democrats have the option of defanging it in a stand-alone reconciliation bill, according to David Super, a law professor at Georgetown University.

Super points out that the statute creating the reconciliation process allows one reconciliation vote per fiscal year on matters involving taxes, matters involving spending and matters involving the debt limit.

This means Democrats could theoretically do the multitrillion-dollar reconciliation bill and then also effectively nullify the debt limit via another, separate reconciliation bill, Super says.

“The Congressional Budget Act gives Democrats the chance to do a stand-alone reconciliation bill on the debt limit if they want,” Super told us. He noted Democrats could effectively repeal the debt limit by, say, writing language tying it to covering whatever the national debt is at any given moment.

This, Super says, would be “faithful to the purpose of the debt limit, which allows the United States to meet its lawful obligations.”

(Similarly, Democrats could temporarily just raise the debt limit in a separate reconciliation bill, Super says. So that creates a backup if Republicans do vote for default.)

McConnell’s conduct merits this kind of response. McConnell himself admits the debt limit must be dealt with to spare the country from disaster. Yet he not only is withholding all GOP support for this; he’s also fine with Republicans filibustering it.

When asked to explain this, McConnell simply invents a rule stipulating that when Democrats control Washington, dealing with the debt limit is solely their responsibility.

Translation: McConnell is doing this because he can. The only language McConnell understands is power; the right response is to take the weaponry out of the hands of someone who stoops to such levels of bad faith, and be done with it.

Again, forcing Republicans to make good on their threat is a reasonable stand to take. But if that fails, an even tougher option is available.

But Democrats don’t want to render the debt limit inoperative. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), the chair of the House Budget Committee, says his preference is to raise it to an “extraordinarily large amount that we’ll never reach,” but adds, “that’s probably not viable politically.”

Why not? This is one of those debates that burns brightly in Washington but flies completely under the electorate’s radar. What will matter in 2022 and 2024 is whether the pandemic is still with us, whether the economy is improving and other matters impacting voters’ lives — not the state of an entry on a budget ledger.

So Democrats should do whatever they have to do here — and while they’re at it, make sure we never have to go through this again.