Politicians must think voters live in an alternate reality. Why else would they push fantastic fictions about the boogeymen they claim are responsible for inflation, when every morning they see the culprit staring back at them in the mirror?
The bill for years of unbounded spending and pandering for votes is coming due, and, as is often the case, it is being exacerbated by unanticipated events. This time those events include the pandemic, war and technology. So now it’s time for adults to step up and stop the rhetorical gymnastics from deflecting from the hard and intelligent conversations that must be had about the serious issues that threaten our nation’s future.
Our national debt unceremoniously hit $30 trillion dollars at the end of January — three years sooner than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had projected in 2020. That is the equivalent of a $92,000 debt incurred by every person in America. For some perspective, the national debt hovered in the $6 trillion range in 2000, and $14 trillion in 2010.
Too much government debt is bad for many reasons, no matter how many times politicians try to portray it as government investment. Governments don’t invest, they spend, and that spending leads to higher interest rates and inflation when it gets out of control. Higher interest rates are a double whammy, making it more costly for the government to borrow to service its interest and principal obligations.
The CBO estimates that the country’s net interest costs will be a whopping $60 trillion over the next three decades. Left to its own devices, Congress would spend even more than the CBO can imagine. These are numbers that America simply cannot afford if it is to address its present and future domestic and international problems and maintain economic, technological and military superiority in a frighteningly dangerous world.
About the same time that the national debt hit $30 trillion, the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet reached $9 trillion. Again, for perspective, the assets on the Fed’s balance sheet totaled less than 10 percent of that – about $800 billion – just before the badly mishandled financial panic of 2008-10.