One consequence of the psychodrama over the debt ceiling is that we can now discuss how to remove it. In his column Bruce Bartlett reminds us that we have known since the 1950′s that the debt ceiling doesn’t reduce spending:
While politicians and the general public believe that the debt limit is an important constraint on national indebtedness, not one iota of evidence supports this belief. Economists have been making this point repeatedly for more than 50 years. In 1959, Marshall Robinson of the Brookings Institution came to this conclusion in a book-length study of the debt limit:
On the record, the debt ceiling experiment has failed. Although at times the ceiling has clamped down on government spending, it has not prevented the long-term growth of debt. Indeed, there is some evidence that reactions to its short-run pressure may ultimately contribute to the growth of debt.