Let me throw a number out at you: 20 Trillion. That is the amount of dollars the US owes in National Debt. Our National Debt is growing and growing and growing, and it is about to climb to over $20 Trillion. Now that is a very large number and it may be so big that you can’t really comprehend it. (I know I can’t). So let me break that down for you. A trillion seconds is 31,688 years. If we stopped spending entirely and then paid $1 of it a second it would take us 20 times that 31,688 years or over 120,000 years. Another way of putting it is if you took the top 50 richest people in the world and put their net worths together it would be less than $1 Trillion. We would need to multiply that by 20 to pay off our National Debt. Forbes did an article (found here) talking about the US Debt in April of 2015 and they predicted that by 2019 the National Debt would be $20.6 Trillion (a number which I’m sure we’ll blow past by 2019) and the average amount per person based on population estimates would be $161,022 per person. The richest to the poorest, the old to the newborn, the Republican and the Democrat. Everyone would have to fork over $161,000 right now to reduce our debt to zero. Our spending is out of control and it’s not slowing down!
The above comic which I used as my header image is a little outdated but its still relevant and I’m sure it will be relevant for a long, long time. This is debt that is being pushed on my generation, the next generation, the next-next generation, and probably the generation after that! It is a problem that will affect people for the next 100, 200, maybe even 300 years if we don’t do anything about it now. I’m sure I’ll be long dead before we ever see a US government with a surplus. People are looking at low unemployment numbers and the booming Stock Market and saying that America is under some kind of economic boom, but the debt is piling higher and higher without it slowing down. How long do you think a country can survive like that? The only reason we haven’t collapsed like Greece is that we have such a huge GDP (Gross Domestic Product) but our debt is still climbing and we’re not doing anything to pay it down.
This has been a problem amassing for a large time that has been created by unbalanced budgets, a bloated US Government, and an addiction to spending when we don’t have a way to pay for it. Conservatives always like to complain about “tax-and-spend” Democrats but lets not forget how big our military budget and how Republicans advocate for spending more and more on our military or the Trillion Dollar Stimulus package the current President wants to release (Wall Street Journal) while also cutting taxes across the board. Yeah Democrats seem to favor expanding government programs and raising taxes to pay for it, but Republicans are just as guilty of spending other people’s money without a pay to pay for their expenses. We’ve gone through Republican Presidents, Democratic Presidents, Republican Congresses, Democratic Congresses, and Mixed Congresses and we continue to raise the debt ceiling instead of cut spending. The last time we had a balanced budget was under Democratic President Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress in 1997. That means we’ve gone 20 years without a balanced budget. We’ve barely had a budget at all! We’ve been continuing pass budgets every few months to stave off a government shutdown and sometimes we’ve actually shut down the government over budgets.
So what’s the solution to our National Debt? Well the over-simplified answer is that we need the government to start living with its mean and stop spending money they don’t have. That probably seems unlikely looking at our current government and how recent history has gone, but I think the first step is we need to start passing balanced budgets. One candidate that was talking about balanced budgets during the 2016 Presidential Race was Governor John Kasich (R – OH) who was a House of Representatives Member during when President Clinton and Congress passed a balanced budget. Before announcing he was running for President we went across the country advocating for a balanced budget amendment be ratified to our constitution making it mandatory that the US Government pass a balanced budget every year. (Here is a Columbus Dispatch article about Governor Kasich in regards to our National Debt) I’ve heard others advocate for term limits being set up for Congressman with the stipulation that a Congressman or woman is term limited if Congress does not pass a balanced budget. I don’t think that will pick up much steam, but it is an interesting concept.
What I think it really comes down to is that people see a super large number like $20 Trillion and can’t really grasp it so it just seems imaginary. Who cares if the debt is 20 billion or 20 trillion or 20 gadrillion (not a real number) because those numbers don’t mean anything to them. The thing is, this is a real problem and it needs to be addressed. We need to start holding Congress accountable no matter if it controlled by the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. We need to speak in one, loud voice that $20 Trillion is unacceptable. We need to work together as Americans to reduce our spending and get our government to start living within its means. Enough is enough!
If you want to feel sick to your stomach, here is the US National Debt Clock. It keeps updated in real time about the National Debt as well as other statistics about the US.
Reminder: Keep all discussion civil and on topic. I do not want to shut down free speech but I will if the speech is hateful and/or not-constructive. Thank you.