Out Of Control Essay

1529 words - 6 pages

The United States is a wealthy country harboring a strong economic system. In 2010, the gross domestic product, GDP, was approximately $14.6 trillion dollars which supplied about $2.16 trillion in tax revenue. With this money, the country funds everything from healthcare for the poor and elderly to the education system that will produce our next great minds. However amidst sea of prosperity, there is a whirlpool draining the treasury and threatening America as a world power. A policy of deficit spending has dragged us into deep debt and lawmakers are reluctant to even admit there is even a problem. Instead of choosing to address the issue when it was first identified, they have played politics with it and a financial crisis now looms. Congress and the president must take action and develop a sustainable fiscal policy. It needs to be their top priority and significant changes need to occur before the United States of America is torn from its position of power and prestige and finds itself in the midst of bankruptcy.
As of this writing, the national debt is approaching a staggering $14.294 trillion, the current limit set by Congress. Referring to the nation's GDP, you can see this is equivalent to roughly 98% of all the goods and services produced by the United States in an entire year. If you think we must overhaul the budget in order to avoid reaching the debt ceiling, you are right. The law does not allow us to surpass the limit and therefore requires cuts to balance the budget. This will not happen, however. Instead of recognizing the need for some leadership and responsibility, Congress has adopted an unofficial policy to simply raise the debt limit and continue spending without a second thought. Since 2001, we have approached and Congress has raised the ceiling ten times and nearly tripled the national debt (Austin & Levit, 2011). With a projected deficit of $1.27 trillion this fiscal year, we, as citizens, cannot afford to stand by quietly and allow this unsustainable rate of spending to continue (Clueless, 2010).
America's fiscal policy is regarded as unsustainable because borrowing has both explicit and implicit costs associated with it. The explicit costs are the interest payments we make on the national debt. According to The Moment of Truth: Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, we will pay $226 billion in net interest and projects that to rise to $938 billion by 2020. Also, if you add the interest payments over the next ten years, it amounts to a staggering $5.76 trillion dollars (2010). That is more than one-third of the present-day GDP and threatens to keep getting larger. This brings us to the implicit costs. The $5.76 trillion we are projected to spend on debt interest is empty spending. It does not provide anything to the nation's future and forces us to forgo spending it in ways that would have resulted in a positive return, such as: education, energy and technology. ...

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