U. S. National Debt a Ticking Time Bomb Waiting to Explode


Sorry, but this one you can’t blame on either party. Yes, President Barack Obama has made the problem much, much worse, but the scary truth is the national debt keeps rising inexorably no matter who or which party is in office. That’s the new law of American politics.

When I first arrived in Washington in the early 1980s the debt was roughly $2 trillion. This week, 30 years and five presidents later, the debt exceeded for the first time $18 trillion. We have been in the red in all but four of the last 40 years.

That’s $18,000,000,000,000. We all know that $18 million is a lot of money. This is $18 million times another million. The number is so gigantic we won’t or can’t try to fathom it.

Why worry? We owe it to ourselves, we’re told. The mighty American economy is big enough to absorb it. This country was built on debt. There is no better time to borrow than when interest rates are at a 40-year low.

There’s some truth in all of these claims. Sure, we have a near $18 trillion economy, but the problem is the debt is outgrowing the economy.

In just the last seven years — the last under George W. Bush and the first six under Obama — the debt has increased by roughly $7.4 trillion. That’s 10 times the entire debt incurred in our first 200 years as a nation.

My view is that government debt isn’t always inherently evil. The wisdom of borrowing depends on what you use the money for.

  • We borrowed trillions (in today’s dollars) to win World War II. Surely it was worth it.
  • We borrowed another $1.8 trillion during the Reagan years to finance winning the Cold War and rebuild the private economy with growth hormone tax cuts. That has clearly benefitted future generations, so they should bear some of the cost.

But what we have bought with most our debt of the last two decades has been a bigger, more expansive welfare state. Almost half of all American households, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, get a government check or direct benefit from government today. More than one-third of households get some kind of unearned welfare.

Click here for more.

Stephen Moore

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s