National debt now over $12 trillion

Posted on November 17, 2009

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Sobering news from the Treasury Department today as the nation learns it’s in the hole to the tune of over $12 trillion. My share ($38,974.34) is just a bit less than my yearly salary as a microbiology med tech, but doesn’t cover the share of my wife or daughter either. Here’s some more numbers from the CBS article:

This latest milestone in the ever-rising journey of the National Debt comes less than eight months after it hit $11 trillion for the first time. The latest high-point is not unexpected, considering the federal deficit for the just-ended 2009 fiscal year hit an all-time high at $1.42-trillion – more than triple the previous year’s record high.

…The National Debt has increased about $1.6 trillion on Mr. Obama’s watch, though less than $4.9 trillion run up during the presidency of George W. Bush.

But the White House budget review issued in August projects that by the end of the current fiscal year on Sept 30th, the National Debt could top $14 trillion.

It gets worse. The same document projects that by the end of the decade, the National Debt will hit $24.5 trillion — exceeding the Gross Domestic Product projected for 2019 of $22.8 trillion.

The national debt is a product of multiple administrations going back decades. It would be grossly unfair to lay all the blame on the Obama administration, but consider this – in eight months (all on Obama’s watch) we have added $1 trillion to the debt – in other words, we’ve rung up 8.3% of it in less than a year. Obama has added less than Bush did – but he’s already added in less than a year more than a fourth of the amount of Bush’s share over 8 years.

Is it unfair to lay all the blame on Obama? You bet it is. But what’s not unfair is to recognize the absolutely wrong direction the nation is headed down fiscally. Instead of tightening the belt, the government is providing bailouts and stimulus packages, and instead of slashing services, government is one of the few sectors of job growth.

You don’t borrow and spend your way back to prosperity, and you sure as hell don’t borrow and spend your way out of debt. Yet that’s what we’re being told is absolutely necessary to stave off further economic hardships, measures that to my viewing look to be mostly overinflated and ineffectual. Instead of cutting back the budget in lieu of this mammoth debt load, Congress is hell-bent on pushing through another trillion-dollar entitlement program.

On top of this, trial balloons are being floated on the inevitability of tax hikes. A President of either party will no doubt be forced to raise taxes to pay for the kinds of excesses the government is engaged in. Yet the Obama administration wants to have it both ways – massive spending followed by economically damaging tax increases that will necessary to correct for our politicians’ lack of fiscal discipline.

I have little doubt that we’ll all see tax increases, not just those evil rich people making over $250,000 that Candidate Obama promised would be the only ones to pay. The Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire, raising rates across the board while other “revenue-producing” measures are considered. It’s unrealistic to think of further tax cuts right now, but the least the government could do is cut back and slow the rate of growth.

Instead, we’re seeing massive expansion of federal bureaucracy. Administrations of both parties contributed to this problem, but rather than steering a responsible way out, the current administration is making the problem even worse.

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Posted in: News, Politics