Our national debt is growing by the second, and it’s growing so quickly that anybody can just google it and it’s the first link that pops up. You can find the link to it here and see for yourself how quickly it’s growing.
Our country’s federal budget deficit is projected to reach one trillion dollars by 2020 and the national debt is already around $21,944,969,000,000. Our deficit is heavily dependent on the economy seeing as the economy helps balance the deficit through spending and revenue. Debt is when revenue and spending don’t match up and the country spends more money than it brings in. Furthermore, the interest on the debt grows as the debt grows, getting higher and higher and making the debt grow even faster. The debt is increasing faster than was expected, and policymakers simply haven’t found a way to responsibly address the problem. A failure of policy solutions is also why we are now in the longest government shutdown ever, reaching an all-time high of 25 days.
With that said, what makes up the debt? The debt includes things like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The problem with this is that funds are being distributed faster than society can pay into the programs. Another problem society is facing is that there are more people who are entering the age to receive these benefits than are entering the work force and paying into these programs. The deficit averages about 3 percent of the GDP seeing as 20% is spent while revenues average around 17%. While it’s better when the revenues are higher than spending, it’s not horrible if the economic growth evens out with the deficit. So, if the economic growth is 3 percent and the deficit is 3 percent, that means it breaks even. Ideally there would be a surplus. The nation’s debt is now bigger than the GDP. According to the Pew research center, the debt since 2013 has either equaled or exceeded U.S. GDP, which hasn’t happened since the end of World War II. The only options we have as a society are either to find a way to make more money or to tighten up the budget which Congress is in charge of planning. It’s all about discretionary spending.
This is why the government is currently shut down; because the President and Congress cannot presently agree on a budget. The current shutdown is only a partial shutdown because certain parts of the budget were passed while others were not. The President and Congress both won’t back down until they get funds allocated specifically where they want them. The President wants 5 billion dollars of the budget to go to building a wall on our Mexican border whereas Democratic leaders in Congress are opposed to the wall, arguing that those funds could go to something that would provide more direct help for citizens. This inability to come to a consensus is consequently holding up seven other bills that cannot be passed until they pass the one they are stuck on. There are other repercussions being faced, like fewer TSA agents and many federal workers being furloughed. We need to figure out a way to get back to a point where we are making more money than we are spending, we must go further than just breaking even.
The only solutions are to tighten up the budget, find a way to make more money, or we need things like workforce growth and workforce productivity. This would help counteract the amount of money going to the people who age out of the workforce who are receiving funding through programs like Medicare and Social Security. These solutions were suggested by Robert Bixby who is the Executive Director of the Concord Coalition. We as a society need to find a way to get our GDP to exceed the debt, not the debt to exceed the GDP.