Coming Crisis of Spending and National Debt

The coming crisis? It’s already here. You can’t say conservatives haven’t been warning you about it. Here’s the The Joplin Globe, in Joplin, Missouri:

A report released this week puts front and center an issue that few politicians — including presidential candidates — are discussing. Yet this issue dwarfs the significance of anything else that has overtaken the national conversation. We’re talking about federal spending and the national debt, which is now at $18 trillion.

Currently, the debt held by the public is at 74 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. That is money that is borrowed on the open market from domestic and foreign investors and is owed back. The rest of the national debt is internal debt, meaning it is money our government has borrowed from itself, such as when it raids Social Security’s trust fund. But that, too, is money collected from the public in the form of taxes with the promise that it will be there when needed.

Unless something changes, the national debt will exceed the gross domestic product by 2040, according to projections from the Congressional Budget Office. That may sound a long way off, but given that it has taken us decades to get into this mess, 25 years is a short time frame to make a difference. One-third of that time — eight years — could be consumed by the next person elected president.

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