By Anna Rittgers

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner claims that the US will be in default if the current debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion is not raised.  A genuine default—that is, the day that the United States has no funds to make any payments to anyone—is very unlikely

What President Obama wants to do is to increase the nation’s credit limit (by more than $2 trillion, according to some reports) and continue spending at these astronomical rates.  Since Obama took office in January 2009, our national debt has increased by $3.7 trillion dollars. The federal government is spending 28% more today than it did in President Bush’s last year in office.

Our country does not have enough money to match our current levels of spending.  Approximately 60% of our national spending can be paid for from current tax revenues and receipts; we have to borrow money to pay for the other 40%.  

So, what will happen if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling before the August 2 deadline? The US will have to prioritize their spending, and federal spending will be limited to the amount of US Treasury revenues received from taxes and fees.

In other words, the US will have to start paying with cash instead of credit.  

Just increasing the debt ceiling will do nothing to solve our fiscal problems.  Now is the time to take serious steps to overhaul our country’s spending habits.  We are simply asking the federal government to do what responsible American families have been doing in this tough economy:  spend only what we take in, and prioritize spending to make sure that obligations and necessities are covered before any other spending occurs. 

We need to drastically cut current spending levels, cap future spending, and pass a balanced budget amendment.  Sign the Cut, Cap, and Balance petition.  Pledge to contact your Senators and Congressmen and urge them to fight any debt ceiling increases without meaningful spending reforms.