Nation Put Further at Risk Under Gov’t’s $20-Trillion Debt Load

(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) As the national debt on Friday hit an immense and record-setting $20 trillion, conservatives and centrists alike are pleading for greater efforts to manage the federal budget.

Marsha Blackburn photo

Marsha Blackburn/Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC)

That same morning in the Washington Post, Maya MacGuineas of the center-right Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reminded readers that the issues of the debt and the debt ceiling, while obviously related to each other, are two different things – but that the best way to cure both issues is to stop spending so much money.

“Stop adding more to the debt,” she wrote. “With our national debt so high, we need a multitrillion-dollar debt-reduction plan that phases in savings from revenue and entitlement reforms.”

Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee is one of those who were aghast at the $20 trillion landmark. She said it is time to stop “disregarding the reckless spending that got us here in the first place. Future generations will be shouldered with this heavy burden for years to come unless we fundamentally change the way we think about debt and spending in Washington. The people are tired of all talk and no action. Recently, a group of leading conservatives in the House sent a letter to Speaker Ryan outlining a number of reforms we would like to see enacted in order to bring real reforms and changes to finally address the underlying cause of our spending and debt crisis.”

PREVIOUSLY: US Debt Finally Tops $20 Trillion, Jumps By $318 Billion In One Day

The letter contained 19 bullet-pointed suggestions for reining in federal spending. Among them: Requiring significant work requirements for food-stamp recipients modeled on the successful basic-welfare work reforms passed in 1996; a balanced budget amendment; and an end to double-dipping in the federal unemployment insurance program.

The bipartisan group called Fix the Debt explains why this all matters to the average American: “According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, average income will grow more slowly over the next 30 years with rising debt compared to if debt is placed on a downward path. …Over 30 years of working, it represents $55,000 in lost income.” Not only that, but the pressure the national debt puts on interest rates will mean that an average homeowner will “pay at least $45,000 more over the course of [his] mortgage due to the growing debt.”

That’s $55,000 plus $45,000 – a full $100,000 cost. And that’s just the likely result of future debt. Already—put another way – the debt stands at $62,500 for each of the approximately 320 million people living in the United States today.

Michael Peterson, chairman of the conservative fiscal reform Peter G. Peterson Foundation, noted that the debt burden will require the feds to spend $6 trillion in the next decade on interest alone.

“That’s more than we will invest in our kids. So, in effect, we have decided to spend more on our past than on our future,” he said.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, an economically libertarian budget hawk, has long warned against growing debt and long proposed several pieces of legislation to help solve the problem. One of them would allow taxpayers to designate up to 10 percent of their income taxes to be used exclusively for paying down the national debt.

“If Congress fails make these necessary spending reductions designated by taxpayers, then across-the-board spending cuts would be imposed,” Flake said, in explaining the latter bill. “However, the Debt Buy-Down Act would protect Social Security benefits, benefits for the uniformed services, and payments for net interest from being included in any of these across-the-board cuts. Simply put, in the absence of responsible federal budget solutions, this bill allows taxpayers to take matters into their own hands.”

PREVIOUSLY: GLEASON: Debt Ceiling Capitulation Spells Trouble Ahead for the Dollar

The last time the federal budget was balanced or in surplus, meaning no annual deficits were adding to the debt, was in 2001 – the last budget enacted by a Republican Congress that was signed by then-President Bill Clinton. Debt began rising again after the 9/11 terrorist attacks – but it didn’t explode horrendously until Barack Obama was president, when it nearly doubled, from $10.6 trillion to $19.9 trillion.

The balanced budgets in 2000-2001 resulted from significant annual discretionary savings enacted by the early years (1995-97) of the “Gingrich Congress,” plus the hugely successful 1996 welfare reform bill managed in the Senate by later presidential candidate Rick Santorum, plus economic growth spurred by the Gingrich Congress’ successes.

Some in Congress think the successes of the 1990s can be replicated. The bill the House passed this year to replace Obamacare, which failed in the Senate, would have put “work” requirements in the Medicaid program based on the “workfare” provisions of that 1996 welfare reform law. All told, the House bill would have achieved budgetary savings of about $150 billion – a drop in the bucket of the $20 trillion debt, but both a down payment on that debt and a model for further reforms.

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  • RickFromDetroit

    Cut taxes and cut spending. If you don’t have, then don’t spend it. The total National Debt in 1980 was $800 billion, but we are now over $20 trillion 37 years later. The Dow was around 500 points in 1980, but now it is over 22,000. The experts say that when Wall Street is healthy, then so is the economy. If this is the case, then why don’t we have a $20 trillion surplus?

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  • I have been posting on this issue for years as well as contacting my representatives in Congress repeatedly. They are all GOP conservatives anyway.

  • Falcon Aviator

    Our current national debt level is at 20 Trillions dollar and yet those Lunatic and Fake Generals around President Trump with their Allies Leftists and Globalist hidden in the Administration combined with their the shameful actions of the Corrupt Professional Politicians in the Senate and Congress and the vicious circle of Washington DC Swamp are all PUSHING the Country into new Wars around the World that will certainly generate more expenditures and increase the debt level !!!
    Our beloved Country US is sick and tired for being the WORLD POLICE , this explains the reason why we VOTED and CHOSE Trump to take the Country into a new DIRECTION by creating Jobs , Jobs and JOBS and NOT Wars which in most cases we ARE NOT WINNING and yet we leaving so many of our BRAVE SERVICE MEN and WOMEN and so many more are coming HOME completely Mentally and Physically Troubled……
    For those who, often, are ADVOCATING ( I should say BARKING) for Wars from their BEDSIDES , I ask them to FIRST go out and ENROLL into the US Army so as to experience the reality on ground instead of BARKING behind CLOSED DOORS and WINDOWS of their Houses (if any ) for new wars that will certainly and surely increase that national debt level and as result will have a very negative impact on the overall US economic hence on the Wellbeing of US citizens, Wellbeing that President Trump promised to tremendously and POSITIVELY improve by MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN (MAGA). However, with so many of those Lunatic Generals and hidden Globalists/ Leftists Allies in the Administration seem to have hijacked our Beloved President Trump from his Election Campaign Agenda hence those Evils are pushing him into the wrong direction..
    Only God Will Save AMERICA from the Hands of those Evils /Demons and Wars mongers who are the main source of such HIGH NATIONAL DEBT level. Shame on them…..

  • nick1111

    Stop spending money on wars. Get rid of all generals

  • Edouard d’Orange

    “the House (of Representatives) bill would have achieved budgetary savings of about $150 billion – a drop in the bucket of the $20 trillion debt”. Only in the U.S. Congress is $150 billion considered a drop in the bucket. If Congress and everyone involved in spending and budgeting would add drops to the bucket, they might accomplish something. But no one, including the military, Social Security recipients, welfare recipients, Public Broadcasting, Agriculture, Education, Energy, Congress or Obamacare subsidy recipients, absolutely no one is giving up any money, even though none of the money belongs to them (with maybe some exceptions for Social Security which was paid into). That’s where we are at these days.

  • John

    I am holding out hope that POTUS TRUMP will be able to cut the deficit and start paying down the debt. This is a basic business practice, generate revenue , cut costs and pay off debts. The economy is starting to rev up , tax reform will boost it more, thus generating more revenue.
    The tough part is cutting spending and paying down debt especially with the goofs in congress. Too many of the GOP have said one thing during a campaign only to back out when it counts. We may have to hope that many new seat gains are made and that many of the lame jellyfish GOP are primaried and replaced with those with backbones.

  • margaret

    STOP SPENDING TRILLIONS ON ILLEGALS BECAUSE THE CORPORATIONS AND THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WANT THE. WE DO NOT NEED THEM. STOP BRINGING IN FOREIGN WORKERS. WE HAVE ENOUGH COLLEGE GRADUATES BUT MARK ZUCKERBURG, BILL GATES, AND CORPORATIONS WANT THAT CHEAP LABOR. IS ANYONE FIGHTING FOR AMERICANS ANYMORE????????

  • $20 Trillion Debt!?!

    That’s what you get from the behemoth created by the constitutional framers when they replaced Yahweh’s unchanging moral law (including His economic and tax statutes) for capricious man-made Enlightenment and Masonic traditions:

    “[B]ecause they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law … they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind….” (Hosea 8:1, 7)

    Today’s America is merely reaping the inevitable ever-intensifying whirlwind resulting from the wind sown by the constitutional framers. The impact of Irma doesn’t begin to compare to the havoc created by the 18th-century founding fathers:

    “…A senate further enslaves the people to a gargantuan federal government, which must be paid for with tax dollars. Constitutionalists, Libertarians, and even Republicans are often heard discussing the idea that limited government was an objective of the framers. It is true that government was much more limited in the late 1700s than it is today. But do not believe for a minute that the Constitution provided us with limited government, even in the late 1700s. A government consisting of a president, vice president, House of Representatives, Senate, and judiciary can hardly be described as limited. When the framers threw away America’s Christian theocracy in exchange for the United States’ secular theocracy, they also cast aside limited government.

    “With some rare exceptions, Yahweh’s government consists of only one King and Legislator – Yahweh – and a judiciary to litigate His commandments and statutes and enforce His judgments. That is limited government. Yahweh’s government has no need for a president and his cabinet, no need for the House of Representatives or the Senate and their glutted bureaucracy, no need for a prison complex, no need for a parasitical welfare system, no need for the Federal Reserve, no need for the Internal Revenue Service, and no need for a tax-subsidized standing army. Constitutionalists want to abolish nearly everything enumerated here, but they would have us “return” to the very document that permitted these excesses and robbed us of a truly limited government….” (For more, see Chapter 4 “Article 1: Legislative Usurpation” of free online book “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective” at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/BlvcOnline/biblelaw-constitutionalism-pt4.html.)

    Had Moses come down Mt. Sinai with today’s Constitutional Republic’s laws, he wouldn’t have come down the Mountain with two tablets but with a hernia, a busted back, and an untold number of wagons pulled by both donkeys and elephants alike (pun intended). And some Christians have the audacity to call Yahweh’s moral law burdensome, despite the following from the Apostle John:

    “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)

    For more on how Yahweh’s immutable moral law applies and should be implemented today, see free online book “Law and Kingdom: Their Relevance Under the New Covenant” at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/law-kingdomFrame.html.

  • just care

    Hey Washington ! Stop acting like you care. You continue to finance illegal aliens. You continue to finance abortion et al. Last chance to redeem yourselves. Here’s how ; Charge a 1 trillion dollar tax on each Hollywood movie ticket. If 20 people show up, then the debt is paid. If noone shows up , even better as we will have seen the last of those no talent actors

  • Duke615

    Include Federal retirees, strangely enough, in protecting Social Security. Why? Federal retiree funding now comes 88% from Social Security, as, since 1984, Federal employees have paid 6.2% of their salaries into Social Security, like everyone else. Surprised?
    Old timers, under the old (1921-1984) Fed retirement system, did not pay into, nor receive Social Security, and most of them are in their 80’s now; but, nevertheless, their old system now relies 88% on Social Security funding. (Surprise.)
    Who gives a hoot about Feds? Well, tell that to your mailman. Or, let our inundated Border Patrol people know that your don’t give a D%*n about them. Or, how about the dozens of Nobel Prizes won by “Feds” at the National Institutes of Health?
    Yes, we need a leaner Federal Government, But it still has to function.
    /s/ An elderly Federal retiree, and a Veteran.

  • Nana Monster

    I know they’re going to lay this one on Trump’s doorstep BUT why not put blame where it’s due square on Obama as he’s the one who doubled our debt. He racked up MORE than the previous 43 presidents combined.

    • HandyDan

      Tell us something we don’t know!

  • DeadToad

    I’ve been hearing this crap since the 1980s I’m already bored. One thing’s for sure I wouldn’t count on me paying this debt. If the Fed walked away and didn’t pay a dime back I wouldn’t cry. I know they’re talking about tax money but it doesn’t sound like any of it is going to pay off the debt. I just remember what China pulled when it came time to pay us back. To make it short we didn’t get paid back nor will we ever. They changed governments and blame the debt on the Old Government which they said they would not cover. Debt is a funny thing when it comes to governments.

    • HandyDan

      YOU AMY BE RIGHT. IF WE “CHANGE GOVERNMENTS” IT WILL LIKELY BE THE END OF THE COUNTRY. WE WILL LIKELY BREAK UP INTO 4 OR 5 NATIONS. IS THAT WHAT YOU ADVOCATE?

      • DeadToad

        One nation under God indivisible. That’s what I’m advocating. We can’t all live in fear sometimes it takes hard work and great sacrifices to build a strong Nation. Risks are fearful but must be taken from time to time. Don’t be scared be brave.

  • Gregg Parker

    $20 trillion fiat dollars equals zero real gold backed Constitutional currency. All anyone has to do is challenge the 13th Amendment which was passed illegally and signed illegally thus it really carries no force of law under the Constitution. The Federal Reserve Act authors fiat money and it is worthless. Having more worthless debt amounts to nothing. Besides the debt is closer to $200 trillion with the outstanding debt not on the ledger of Appropriation Bills. We’ll never pay it off or down, so hold your breath and hang on as we go over the top. Besides, there is zero you can do but watch… so watch…

  • Michelle Evans

    Until the ‘great’ Congresspeople/Senators & the Prez cuts off THEIR Cadillac health benefits, retirement benefits, salaries, & learns to do without like they propose the poor/middle class do, then don’t cut off the benefits the poor need to survive. In many places, jobs are being lost due to automation. In many cases, the 50+ cannot work due to health issues, etc. So, if you cut off those who truly need the help, you’re creating a whole new class of homeless people.