But Washington keeps hitting the snooze button.
The US national debt exceeded $10 trillion for the first time in October 2008.
By mid-September 2017, the national debt had doubled to $20 trillion. It was so recent that it probably felt like last week. Did Donald Trump threaten nuclear war against North Korea from a New Jersey country club? Did you see Thor: Ragnarok in the cinema? That fall order was 2017. That was five years ago.
Yesterday, data released by the US Treasury confirmed that the national debt reached a new milestone: $30 trillion.
The rate at which the federal government has amassed a third stack of 10 trillion I-O-U bills is truly remarkable. Yes, the response to the COVID-19 epidemic has led to stratospheric lending and borrowing from public debt, but before COVID appeared on the horizon, the operational question on the national debt was whether the country would reach 30 30 trillion . The engine of the debt is an unbalanced entitlement system and a constant gap between public spending and tax revenues, the result of more than two decades of bad decisions in Washington, where politicians on both sides have recklessly borrowed money to pay everything from wars abroad. . A 1,200 check for most Americans (even six-figure earners) during an epidemic.
While the increase in debt does not cause default or other crises, it will have a material impact on the future of Americans. The high level of debt has nothing to do with the low level of future economic growth, since the money that has to be taken out of the economy to pay interest on loans will continue to grow. Every dollar used to pay down debt is a dollar that cannot be used to invest in new technology, pay workers, or save for the next rainy day.
High levels of debt also make it difficult for policymakers to deal with inflation, which is reducing the paychecks and savings of the American people more than at any time in the last 40 years.
The $30 trillion in debt is a "responsible figure that is a real cause for concern," Maya McGuinness, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), a nonpartisan group that advocates for balanced budgets, told Wall Street. Newspaper. "It's a consequence of taking on so much debt for really big crises, especially the Kovid epidemic, but billions and billions of loans for no other reason than politicians have also become unwilling to pay the bills."
But without McGuinness and a small group of her colleagues, little is known about the debt in Washington. That is another problem. When the national debt surpassed $10 trillion in 2008, it became a major topic of discussion in that year's presidential campaign. "It's $30,000 for every man, woman and child," President Barack Obama said shortly afterward during a campaign rally in Nebraska. "It's irresponsible. It's not patriotic."
Then, after federal spending exploded during the Great Recession, the Tea Party movement began holding Obama and Congress financially accountable. The results were mixed until the Republican-controlled Congress, led by President Donald Trump, abandoned the effort and ramped up spending even with seizures and temporary budget caps curbing sprawl.