Few Americans are aware that our federal government does not have a limit on how much money it can spend. It was not always that way.
Prior to 1939, Congress had to approve every purchase made by the Treasury. It was then that Congress imposed a debt ceiling, which was watched closely by all. Fiscal responsibility was demanded in those days so much that as recently as the 1970s, when the national debt approached the ceiling, the price of gold moved higher.
Now, though, there is no debt ceiling until July 19, 2021, when it will most likely be moved higher again. I say this because the debt ceiling has been raised 86 times since 1959.
The graph shows the most recent increases and massive spending that occurred between dates set by the ceiling limits. More ominous is the frequency at which the ceilings are cast aside. Five increases since 2013. Raising the debt ceiling is a perfunctory event, not much attention is paid to it nowadays.