Our national debt now exceeds $18 trillion. For the sake of our children’s future, we must focus our energy on attacking this existential threat to our prosperity and power.
This year, with interest rates still at historic lows, more than 6 percent of federal outlays will be dedicated just to servicing our ballooning debt. Many expect interest rates to rise very soon, which would only increase the amount of your tax dollars wasted on interest payments. By 2025, the Congressional Budget Office expects debt service payments to reach $722 billion. For some perspective, the 2009 stimulus package increased the deficit by about $830 billion. Unless something changes, we’ll soon add a stimulus-sized check to the deficit every single year – only this time, all of the spending will go to creditors.
Beyond the domestic impacts of our out-of-control debt, America’s potential enemies look at our fiscal situation as a sign of weakness and opportunity. About 48 percent of the government’s debt is held by foreigners. At a very basic level, our government is sending your money overseas to pay interest to people who might not like America’s position atop the global financial order. Weakness in our fiscal position slowly erodes our ability to project economic might, a source of power just as important as fighter jets and aircraft carriers.
It is highly unlikely that every dollar in this year’s $3.7 trillion budget contributes to government services or economic growth. A good start would be to go line-by-line through agency expenditures and cut out the unnecessary waste. Families all across this nation employ zero-based household budgets and there is no reason why the government shouldn’t do the same.