Back in 2001, the economy looked so rosy that the Congressional Budget Office predicted by the end of the decade the country would have enough money to pay off everything it owed. Then came two recessions, multiple tax cuts and two wars. Now, the national debt limit is $16.7 trillion; that's the cap on the amount of debt the federal government can accrue.
The short-term question is: will Congress raise that debt limit before the federal government runs out of money in mid-October? The long-term question: will the country take the steps necessary to keep the debt from eventually overwhelming the economy? Some say those steps include reining in spending, higher taxes and reforming entitlements. One of those taking that position is Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. She joins us with her perspective.