National Debt: Who Cares?

A new video from Prager University — “National Debt: Who Cares?”:

The U.S. national debt is massive – so massive that most Americans cannot comprehend it, much less solve it. But a crisis is looming, and a day of reckoning that will affect every American is coming. The Manhattan Institute’s Brian Riedl explains how we got here and what you can do about it.


From the transcript:

In the 1958 movie, The Blob, starring a young Steve McQueen, a giant, expanding mass – a blob – threatens to destroy an entire town and everyone in it. It keeps growing and growing, and no one can stop it.

The United States debt is like that blob. Unlike the fictional blob, it threatens to destroy more than an entire town; it threatens the entire nation.

Where is Steve McQueen when you need him?

Here are some numbers.

The national debt currently stands at $22 trillion dollars. That’s trillion – with a ‘T.’ Ten years ago, it was $10 trillion dollars. Ten years from now, it’s projected to be $34 trillion.

The interest payment on our debt is currently $300 billion dollars per year, heading towards a projected $1 trillion dollars within a decade. At that point, a fifth of all federal taxes will go towards the interest on the debt, not education, infrastructure, and defense – you know, the stuff government is supposed to do. And that’s with historically low interest rates. Imagine if those rates normalized. Well, maybe you don’t want to imagine it because that picture is very dark.

In a better world, voters would be marching on Washington, demanding that our politicians dig us out of this hole before we’re buried in it.

In the real world… almost no one cares. But we should care. And any thinking person, left or right, understands why. No individual and no nation can accumulate debt indefinitely. Europe was able to bail out Greece with some loans a few years ago. But Greece is a small country. If the US goes ‘boom,’ there’s going to be no one to bail us out. So what’s driving the debt? And, more importantly, how do we drive ourselves out of it?

The debt has been growing for decades. It got supercharged by the 2008 recession. Revenues fell while spending soared. Under President Obama, the debt doubled from $10 trillion dollars to $20 trillion. In the first two years of the Trump Administration, we’ve added another $2 trillion dollars.

So what are we to do?

Read more: Prager University