In a word, no. But we can rip people off and otherwise hose'em by raising the debt limit. Congress has been doing it for decades, as the article you'll find here explains.
The lies and distortions are heating up. BHO is walking out of meetings. The political breed is in dire straits with lots of eyes focused on them. And in the end, it's so ridiculously simple. I've said it so many times in this blog that I'm embarrassed to repeat it yet again, but repeat it I must.
You can't borrow what hasn't already been produced and saved.
So, when Congress raises the debt ceiling --- which it certainly will --- the Ponzi scheme will simply continue. We the people will sigh with great relief, and we'll pass the old maid on, just like the Congress has done on several occasions in the past, as explained here.
What really happens when Congress raises the federal debt ceiling? The answer is that somebody gets taxed, but just who that is becomes utterly obscured. Just as Ben Franklin noted, default on debt is a tax. But in less complicated times, it was clear who was getting taxed by the default on federal debt.
These days, the Fed will just manufacture new money to keep the Treasury from defaulting, as explained here. Who will bear that tax? No one can really say. That's the great beauty of it, if you happen to be of the political breed.
If we the people keep voting for politicians that are wiling to raise the federal debt limit to fraudulently finance government spending, we deserve what we will eventually get. Why is Greece coming to mind?
Raising the federal debt limit is defaulting on the outstanding debt; it's just that the burden of the default falls on people other than those who originally bought the U.S. Treasuries. How's that, you say?
All the Fed has to do is purchase new U.S. Treasuries to roll over old Treasuries coming due. No need to raise the debt ceiling for the Fed to do that. But where will the Fed get the money to do that? You already know; they Fed will simply manufacture the new money. Of course, it isn't actually necessary to "print" the new money these days, but new money it will be.
So, even if investors around the globe are unwilling to buy U.S. Treasuries, the Fed can and will (to keep interest rates from rising through the roof). The Treasury will continue to spend money it didn't tax away from Americans directly. So who will bear the burden of this sort of under the table taxation? You can't really say. That's the beauty of it, just as I already noted.
Let me sum it all up:
1. Congress will raise the federal debt limit, regardless of how long it takes to work out the political deal to keep all the right people from having too much loss of face.
2. When Congress does raise the debt limit, that is equivalent to defaulting on previous debt, since interest payments on outstanding debt and new Treasuries sold to roll over previous debt will be financed with new money created by the Fed.
3. Creating new money depreciates the purchasing power of existing money; that's why the dollar price of gold keeps rising.
4. Somebody will bear the burden of the Ponzi scheme; just who can't be known for sure, but you can pretty much bet it won't be the kings or the king makers.
Bernie Madoff went to prison for his Ponzi scheme. Our local politician just get reelected for theirs. Everyone knows what's going on, so why does it continue? I can think of no explanations that are particularly charitable for we the people.