Recent figures from the Treasury Department shows that the national debt of the United States is now $13.665 trillion. It is an unimaginably large amount. In numeric form, it comes out to $13,665,000, 000,000. How are our kids and grandkids going to pay off such a huge sum?
There is plenty of blame to go around for this appalling debt predicament. According to the Treasury Department, during President George W. Bush’s eight years in office, the national debt increased by $4.9 trillion. During President Obama’s two years in office, the debt has increased by another $3 trillion. Both parties bear responsibility — or more accurately, irresponsibility — for this glut of debt, which has turned the United States into a debtor nation and imposed soaring interest costs that will make it virtually impossible to balance our budget and pay down that debt in the future.
Everyone seems to agree that our debt and constant borrowing is unsustainable, but no one seems to be doing anything about it. President Obama apparently is waiting for the recommendations of a bipartisan commission, and every other politician is too busy running for office to take any action. The lack of action on even basic appropriations bills this past session shows that, for this Congress, hard work and hard choices on the federal budget is just not a priority.
What does all of this mean for the upcoming election if you are a voter who, like me, thinks there is no more important issue for our nation than bringing the federal budget under control? I think it gives rise to the “throw the bums out” view UJ noted in his recent post. Democrats control the White House and have huge majorities in both Houses of Congress, and they’ve failed to take any meaningful action on what should be our highest priority. Why not give the Republicans a chance and then, if they fail, try something else? Nothing that has happened in the last two years indicates that a Democratic-controlled Congress will tackle federal spending or debt issues, and if we wait too much longer to do anything about the debt issue it may be too late.