Marco Rubio, Florida's new U.S. senator, has drawn a line in the sand on raising the national debt. His colleagues on Capitol Hill should join him in holding that line against the same old "we'll deal with it next year" promises that have allowed the national debt to grow into a mountain of IOUs.
Rubio has become an outspoken opponent of Congress raising the federal debt limit without first agreeing to a sweeping plan to reduce the $14.2 trillion national debt. The debt limit now stands at $14.29 trillion. With the federal government piling up debt at the appalling rate of $4 billion a day, the debt ceiling will be breached within the next few weeks. If Congress doesn't agree to raise the ceiling soon, the government will lose the ability to issue debt.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that if the government can't continue to issue debt, the consequences will be "catastrophic." Rubio believes it may take the prospect of an immediate economic catastrophe to concentrate the minds of congressional leaders on the greater catastrophe awaiting the country down the road.
In a recent column for The Wall Street Journal, Rubio wrote that when Barack Obama voted as a senator in 2006 against raising the debt ceiling, he called raising the limit "a sign of leadership failure." The debt limit then was under $9 billion.