One of my earliest articles on this site was on the danger of our rapidly skyrocketing national debt. What was once perceived as, at best, a necessary evil that should be limited to whatever extent possible has, since the Vietnam War, become and immense burden of truly unimaginable proportions. How gargantuan? Well, the national debt is now $85,210 per person.
Here’s what Rep. Mo Brooks had to say, putting that $85,210 per person number in perspective:
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“I want the American citizenry to ask themselves, can you write a $90,000 check right now? Okay, can you do it for your family of four? That’s $360,000 Oh, wait a second. If you happen to be doing well enough to actually earn enough money to pay income taxes, then you’ve got to pay for all those who can’t. So double it –– that $720,000 is the average debt burden of each family of four in the United States of America.”
On a similar note, according to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation:
“When you’ve got $80-some-thousand dollars per capita in federal debt, which is about 50% more than the median income in the country, there’s no way we can tax our way out of it. And there’s no way we can cut our way out of it. It’s going to have to be a combination, and that’s not a political statement,” Phillips said.
“That’s a pragmatic statement. Both parties own this. No party stands for fiscal responsibility right now and I think part of it is we don’t have term limits. We have too many people who want to serve careers in Congress, rather than show up, do the hard work, the heavy lifting and then move on. I think until we have that change, it’s going to be hard to find the critical mass willing to make the tough decisions. That’s what we need.”
Sen. Angus King, during a recent discussion with the Millennial Debt Foundation, made these remarks about that debt burden:
“I’m concerned about it in terms of generational equity, the long-term implications for your generation and the generation that comes after. And it bothers me from a, sort of, ethical point of view that where my generation is spending the money, spending your money.”
“It’s a cheap time to borrow and some people are using that as a reason to borrow. The problem that comes is our interest rates flow. The U.S. has the ultimate adjustable rate mortgage, which is the rates can change. And if the rates go back to 4 to 5%, which is where they’ve been historically, we’re in a heap of fiscal trouble. The math is pretty easy. Every 1% is $250 billion a year of interest costs. So 4% is $1 trillion dollars; 5% is $1,250,000,000,000, which happens to be the entire current discretionary federal budget.”
Just the News, in an article on this topic, adds that, “according to the Treasury Department, interest payments on the debt totaled $522.7 billion in FY2020 alone.”
Make no mistake, the national debt is a massive, massive burden. It sucks dollars that would be saved or going toward productive investments into the coffers of the government, where it is immediately spent on wasteful, unnecessary programs. Servicing the debt, something that already costs hundreds of billions of dollars, will only become more expensive as interest rates rise. The Chinese, who hold a large fraction of US debt, have control over the value of our currency because of our government’s profligacy. They could sell the bonds they hold and wreck our currency and already precarious financial situation.
The national debt is an immense burden that can’t be wished away and we have only our “representatives” in Congress to blame for this national disgrace. They’ve put the American state on a path to bankruptcy and disgrace, not because spending needed to happen but because they were too incompetent to create a balanced budget. And now we’re all on the hook, to the tune of $85,210 each.