What it DOES mean is that the ceiling is raised for DEBTS ALREADY INCURRED BY CONGRESS and it is a promise that those debts WILL BE PAID for PAST stuff. IF you had a mortgage and other bills and you just said one day -- to heck with it I'm not paying for anything. What would happen? Ultimately your credit rating would crash and you would be on the street, vulnerable to attack AND those to whom you owe money would suffer too as they depend upon your payments. If they suffer others suffer because others could not pay their debts either without receiving payment from those who owe them money and so on.
THE US IS NOT A HOUSEHOLD THOUGH. IT IS A COUNTRY AND HAS A HUGE economy ... much bigger than any one person individually. Nations run on debt incurred and a promise to pay hence the debt ceiling is raised. If we do not raise the ceiling which in times past was automatic because our credit rating would crash as would the world economy. On a global and NATIONAL scale this would mean a convulsion would occur HERE AND INTERNATIONALLY if the country fails to pay its debts. THIS IS HUGE AND EVERYONE EVEN TEA PARTIERS THEMSELVES WOULD SUFFER MONUMENTALLY. WE ALL WOULD. Those who are not part of the utra wealthy suffer more and more quickly of course BUT even the rich would suffer as the world would be plunged into chaos. It could mean global DEPRESSION making the Great Depression look mild.
This MUST be understood by all!
IN SHORT THE US CANNOT FAIL TO PAY ITS BILLS AND NEVER HAS. Here is a link that explains it all SIMPLY. Pay attention to this quote:
The debt limit does NOT authorize new spending; instead, it provides the funding to pay for spending commitments that Congress has already made. Since the Treasury can’t issue new debt once the limit has been reached, the government would be forced to slash spending if it exceeds the borrowing limit. The result would be a partial government “shutdown” and a debt default (or the failure to make interest and/or principal payments on time). For any developed market, and particularly for the United States – which has been seen as having the safest bond market of any country in the world – a default is almost unthinkable.
p.s. The 14th Amendment in our Constitution may provide that the president cover to do this automatically but the president wants Congress to do this as it always has but defaulting on the debt CANNOT and MUST not happen!