What does it take for the American public to become more concerned about this nation’s unprecedented debt and how this fiscal disaster can, and probably will, affect all Americans not only for the rest of their lifetimes, but for the lifetimes of their children and grandchildren as well?
The United States has never been in a situation such as this, and yet, the public is either living in a make-believe world, blind to the seriousness of the situation, is thinking it isn’t as serious as others suggest or is thinking that some way or other the problem will be solved. Too many think “the government will fix it.”
Now, the national debt totals more than $14 trillion, and the Congressional Budget Office predicts budget deficits of $768 billion annually for the next 10 years.
Interest on the debt is in the billions of dollars every day. According to the CBO, the government will have to borrow 40 cents for every dollar it spends this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. In 2010, the United States accumulated more than $3.5 billion in new debt every day, more than $2 million a minute. The current $14 trillion national debt — that’s how much the United States has borrowed and how much more it has to pay in interest — is larger than the total economies of China, the United Kingdom and Australia combined.
Uncle Sam is not reducing its debt; in fact, it is growing along with the billions in interest.
The national debt is expected to reach close to $20 trillion by 2015. How much more serious does it have to become before the public demands corrective action, as painful as it will have to be?
Is the public numb about the deficit? Has it heard so much about millions, billions and trillions that these numbers don’t register any more?
Bloggers are not known for accuracy, but one such effort at theeconomiccollapseblog.com offers an interesting scenario:
“How would you feel if you found out one day that your parents had run up millions of dollars in debt that now you were obligated to pay off? Would you be absolutely furious? Of course you would be and rightly so. So, how do you think future generations will feel about us? We once were the wealthiest nation on the planet, but we have taken that great inheritance and we have squandered it.
“Now we are handing our children and our grandchildren the largest debt the world has ever seen. How in the world can we do that? How can we consign our descendants to perpetual debt slavery and still feel good about ourselves?
“The America that we all have been enjoying so much today is going to be wiped out by all of this debt. We have literally stolen the future. We just had to keep spending more and more and more. The greed of this generation will be remembered for a very, very long time.”
Some will say this all is an over-alarming statement that unnecessarily tries to scare the public and use fear as a tactic to try to correct the situation, that the situation isn’t as bad as it appears.
Maybe so, but it seems there is every reason to be frightened about the current fiscal situation.
To illustrate just how serious and out of control the situation is, the Obama administration now is asking Congress to approve raising the nation’s debt ceiling. Is there ever enough for this administration? When will it end, and is there any conceivable way to pay off this debt and return the country to fiscal sanity?
To a far, far lesser degree, but also terribly important, Kansans should be concerned about the state’s fiscal situation and how to achieve the mandatory balanced budget. What cuts will be necessary, and will taxes have to be raised to pay for all the programs and services the public and state employees think they are entitled to?
Added to the national debt scandal is the Social Security scandal, another monetary disaster that Congress has failed to correct. A recent CBO report said Social Security will run at a deficit this year and keep running in the red until its trust funds are drained by about 2037. This is a bleaker forecast that previous CBO estimates.
The report said Social Security first went into deficit last year but had been projected to post surpluses for a few more years before permanently slipping into the red in 2016.
This year alone, Social Security will pay out $45 billion more in retirement, disability and survivor benefits than it collects in payroll taxes.
Again, what does it take for the American public to become more concerned about this nation’s debt, and what does it take for those in Congress to display the courage and guts to initiate long-overdue corrective actions?
The same could be asked of those in the Kansas Legislature.