I have written numerous articles on the U.S. National Debt that I feel like I am as the old saying goes “beating a dead horse.” If your family started spending nearly twice as much as it brought in every single year, how long do you think it would be before your family was completely and totally broke? The U.S. government is now so deep in debt that it is hard to even try and describe it. Indeed, it is akin to describing the great works of Michaelango to a blind person. Our government goes into debt to the tune of a trillion (or fractions thereof) dollars each year. This is a staggering amount of money. If you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take over 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars. We have sold our children and our grandchildren into perpetual debt slavery and what is even more astonishing is that not that many people either understand the magnitude of the problem or seem very upset about it. It is almost as if our nation is in a massive state of denial. If one pulled up the national debt clock, it is impossible to write down the number accurately as it is moving so fast. All one can do is estimate the number of $18+ trillion dollars. The National debt is currently rising by well over $4 billion dollars every single day and the National debt is 14 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.
Many problems are associated with carrying a debt this large. In 2014, the interest on the National debt was $430,812,121,372.05. Now this $430+ billion dollars becomes part of the next year’s Federal budget. So what does the American taxpayer get for this? Absolutely nothing! This is the cost that our country has incurred to carry the, as of 2/26/15, $18,149,752,816,959.60 debt. That’s $18.140 trillion! To put this in perspective, it took 13 years for the debt to double by 2002 and then another 8 years for the debt to double again by 2010. Our debt reached a new record on August 31, 2012 when it reached $16 trillion dollars. At that point our National debt became larger than the Gross Domestic Product which was at the time $15.6 trillion as of the second quarter of 2012.
At the crux of the matter is the fact that our Government spends more than it takes in on a continual basis. The U.S. Government suffered budget deficits every year from 1970 through 1997. Under President Bill Clinton in 1998, there was a surplus but the deficits continued from 1999 through 2014. Except for a brief period during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson, the United States has been continuously in debt. In fact, the Constitution of the United States does not require the U.S. Congress to operate on a balanced budget.
President Obama has had the largest deficits totaling $6.8 trillion dollars projected for his eight years in office. President Bush racked up $3.294 trillion over his two terms; President Reagan added $1.412 trillion in deficits during his two terms. Every budget deficit keeps adding to the National debt. Numerous attempts have been made to propose a balanced budget amendment but what is happening is that the mandatory portions of the budget that the United States has agreed to in the past come close to the current revenue of the government for each year. All discretionary spending above and beyond that is pure debt. On April 10, 2013, President Obama presented to the United States Congress his budget for the fiscal year 2014. It was 244 pages long. Basically the spending portion of the budget exceeded the revenue portion by $744 billion dollars. This deficit will go directly to the National debt and will increase the interest paid on that debt for the future. We have created a “Catch 22” situation that will spiral our debt into oblivion.
What does the future hold? It does not look good. The disability portion of Social Security will run out of money next year. One option that the Government has is to borrow money from the regular Social Security which will only add to its financial problems. Every Federal program faces the same dismal future. What most economists forecast is a disaster in a few years when our debt is downgraded to the point of junk status. When that occurs, many countries will either stop buying our bonds and notes or demand that significantly higher interest rates be paid. At some point, taxes will have to be raised across the board and our annual deficit spending will have to stop. More and more of the government’s money will have to go toward paying the mandatory cost of Social Security and Medicare. Our government may then have to reduce Social Security payments, force more recipients of Medicare to cover more and more of the cost of their medical expenses and we will see austerity programs that will make Greece look like a walk in the park.