The duel over raising the government’s debt ceiling is a debate that should never have occurred: As President Barack Obama noted, it is not about allowing Congress to spend more money.

“It simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up,” Obama said. Congress, mostly in Republican control, raised the ceiling seven times for President George W. Bush.

The risk of the government of the United States going into default on its obligations is an outrageous hostage to fortune.

Responsible officials should gather in both House and Senate to pass a clean increase of the debt ceiling.

That’s better than the short-term plan being pushed by House Speaker John Boehner, R.-Ohio, which would force another wrenching debate in six months or so.

Get the debt ceiling off the table, for the good of the economy and the fiscal integrity of the United States. Then let’s talk about deficits - seriously.