Despite current debate, U.S. debt ceiling’s history uncontroversial

July 21, 2011

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(AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Members of Congress urge President Barack Obama to deal with the debt ceiling crisis.

To allow for more flexible funding of World War I, the U.S. government enacted its first debt ceiling in 1917. Economist James Galbraith takes us through the history of the normally uncontroversial procedure. Galbraith is a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin. From 1981 to 1982, he served in Congress as Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee. His most recent article "Deficit Predators: Everything You Need to Know About the Twisted, Dangerous Debt Ceiling Fight" appeared in AlterNet.