CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The debate of the country's debt ceiling has been reprised in Congress.
“All we can do is watch," said Bill Clark, an enrolled agent certified by the U.S. Treasury Department. "Unfortunately, we don’t have the power that we can do anything personally, it seems.”
Should Congress decide to raise the debt ceiling once again, the status quo remains. If not, the treasury secretary and others say there will be a domino effect for many.
“The full faith and credit of the United States would be impaired, and our country would likely face financial crisis and economic recession, as a result,” said U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.
“Our investments that we have in stock market, which is most of our retirement plans, those types of things," said Clark, who owns TaxPro in Corpus Christi. "We seem to go through this every time when they start discussing this. We have a market that starts to fall, and it craters down and so we suffer those losses.”
Likely impacts could be a rise in interest rates, payments could stop for government-related programs such as Social Security, military paychecks and veteran’s benefits. Funding for natural disasters and coronavirus relief could be cut off.
“Nobody knows what the full consequence could be, because we’ve never been through it," Clark said. "Like I said, the United States Government has never defaulted on its obligations.”
Some say now is the time to address the debt.
“I think it’s ridiculous," said Lisa Kelly. "I think it’s not good for our country. I think it’s got so much pork in it, we’re never going to get out of debt if they pass it. And I truly hope that our senators, our elected representatives, will protect our country and not pass that bill.”
Others aren’t too concerned if nothing can be resolved
“Oh, they’re so low right now," said Glenda Tansey. "We’ve been through times when they were, when the interest rate was 12, 14 percent. We survive.”
Clark said Oct. 18 is a projected date the borrowing limit will be reached. He thinks it could come sooner or later. All this is being decided while Congress also deals with passing a spending bill.
"It's trying to pass a $3.5 trillion package that we can't seem to get a clear definition of where it's all going to go, when we're already this far in debt" said Clark. "And it kind of scares people, and rightfully so."