In 1996, the treasury threatened that social security checks would be delayed if the debt ceiling was not raised. Nobody expects the elderly to survive without their monthly income. An exception was allowed. In 1996, the debt ceiling was raised from $4.9 to $5.5 trillion. Since this crisis, the debt ceiling has been raised 11 times to a current ceiling of $14.3 trillion.
The government will be in dire straits, if the day comes where they are unable to pay upon a bonds maturity. As the domino effect would lead to devastation of the economy, and trust issues of future securities, an exception will always be allowed. No more do we want this great nation to come to financial ruin, than our elderly are expected to go without social security.
The last time S&P threatened to lower the governments' AAA rating was during the crisis of 96'. Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner scoffs at the idea of lowering the AAA rating. He implies that S&P, who sets the rating has no idea what their talking about. As long as funds are available to pay the debt, our rating will not be lowered. Geithner is clear the debt ceiling will be raised, because it's the right thing to do, and congress is all about doing what is right.
We may be going about this the wrong way. By living at the edge of our means, we are always going to be right on the edge of needing just a little bit more to make it. What would be the outcome of increasing the ceiling to $20 trillion? Would we then be far enough below the red line that we establish a cushion to start decreasing what we already owe? Will there ever come a day when we say, that ceiling is to high, please lower the credit line?