We Hit the Debt Ceiling Months Ago. Nobody Cared.

| Mon Sep. 30, 2013 10:59 PM EDT

Here's another quick reminder for everyone: It's not true that we'll hit the debt ceiling on October 18. We've already hit it. This happened first on December 31 of last year, and then, after a few months of legislative maneuvering, again on May 19. The Treasury Department has been taking extraordinary measures—withholding payments to pension funds, taking money from the Exchange Stabilization Fund, etc.—to keep the government running ever since.

I only mention this to illustrate how far things have degenerated. Nobody even cares about actually breaching the debt ceiling anymore. We did that months ago, and it was just a date on the calendar. It's only when the Treasury has exhausted its ability to rob Peter to pay Paul, with all the attendant chaos this produces, that we've "really" hit the debt ceiling. Welcome to the new normal, courtesy of the Republican Party.