Holding the nation hostage: How can the US debt ceiling impact our community?


Rishit Agnihotri

The debt ceiling is a statutory limit set by the US Congress on the amount of national debt that can be issued by the Treasury and has been in place since 1917.

The US government is once again facing the issue of raising the debt ceiling in a high-stakes political showdown that could potentially host damaging effects for the entire country. 

While they have not yet settled on specified concessions in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, experts have cited that Republicans are to take a hardline stance against increasing the amount unless Democrats are in alignment over the exponential rise in government spending.

“Congress and the federal government agree to raise the debt ceiling so that they can pay off the debts for money that has already been borrowed. One party wants to trim the role of the federal government and are trying to negotiate spending cuts,” said AP World History teacher Christopher Murphy.

With the current debt ceiling standing at a staggering 31.4 trillion dollars, the repercussions of failing to raise it are cited to be catastrophic for interest rates, taxes, and the economy as a whole. Small businesses that depend on credit, such as those located in downtown Pleasanton and surrounding areas, would be hit the hardest, leading to a reduction in hiring, layoffs, and possibly even business closures.

“It’ll affect the job market heavily and without any jobs, people will get desperate. As a businessman, we have to see how we can sustain for a longer run. So, we need to slow down and there will probably be some layoffs if the situation worsens,” said IT Specialist Rahul Agnihotri.

Students are also cited to be impacted by the debt ceiling, particularly those who have taken federal student loans to fund their education. On the whole, a potential reduction in federal funding for education programs may result as well (if the debt ceiling issue is left unresolved). 

“As a student, I would think that college admission prices would probably go up and government support would slow down. Also, it might be more difficult to find jobs in the future that can pay well,” said Soham Belgal (‘25).

The unresolved issue of the debt ceiling is looming large and has the potential to create major rippling effects across the nation, including in the city of Pleasanton. People around the country are eagerly anticipating how the next couple of weeks will transpire and the potential consequences that may follow.