Eric Swanson

“It’s Congress’s responsibility,” Eric Swanson, a professor of economics at the University of California, Irvine, tells TIME. “If you’re going to pass a law that the spending is this and the taxes are this, then whatever the difference is, has to be debt. You have to pass the law that authorizes the debt.” Swanson is hopeful that Congress will avoid disaster by reaching an eventual agreement to raise the debt ceiling, but “they might push it really close to the deadline,” he says. “There’s a lot of disagreement these days.”

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