Huge National Debt Set to Outpace
Total U.S. Gross Domestic Product
THE BELTWAY BANDITS are suffering delusions of grandeur. The Pentagon wants to fight two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while continuing its military occupation of 130 countries. The Treasury Department wants to prop up Wall Street. Congress wants to borrow more money to encourage Americans to buy homes and cars. The Democrats want to provide free healthcare for all, including illegal immigrants. The problem for Washington is that it is quickly becoming apparent that the debt the federal government has accumulated in the past two decades could bring all of these plans to a grinding halt.
The federal budget deficit is at a record high, adding over $1 trillion to the national debt. Total U.S. debt now exceeds $12 trillion—not including future liabilities—and Congress will have to vote soon to let it go higher or else the Treasury will not be able to pay the interest it owes or float new bonds to take on even more debt.
Contrast that with working-class American families, who have been working hard to whittle down their debt. Every month, Americans are doing the responsible thing by cutting costs to reduce their overall burden. In the past year, despite record unemployment and a collapse of the economy, consumers still managed to knock off $200 billion in debt, bringing down their total from an unprecedented high of $2.6 trillion in the third quarter of 2008 to just over $2.4 trillion as of September 2009, according to the latest figures provided by the Federal Reserve.
Meanwhile, Washington continues to spend what it doesn’t have. Democrats want $1 trillion for “healthcare reform.” The White House wants hundreds of millions of dollars more to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan—a bloody war that has already gone on longer than WWII and Vietnam and has cost taxpayers nearly $1 trillion.
Congress is already negligent, failing to pass seven out of the 12 major appropriations bills for fiscal year 2010, including those that determine the largest budgets in Washington—the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services and Transportation. The 2010 fiscal year for the federal government actually began on Oct. 1, 2009, so bureaucrats in those agencies have been living month to month via continuing measures passed by legislators.
Cash-strapped states are also looking to the federal government for handouts to fund transportation programs and create jobs for struggling Americans. Nowhere has there been a peep about financial responsibility or any of those promised jobs.
The federal government’s debt will soon surpass the entire U.S. gross domestic product—the sum of everything American companies produce—which totals $14.5 trillion. Never before has this country seen such irresponsibility.
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(Issue # 51, December 21, 2009)