If the National Debt of the United States cannot be described as a situation experiencing a crisis then little else can. At its greatest level in history, the current deficit provides the economy with a small boost, but if allowed to continue on its path of projected growth, deficits will eventually result in the lower standards of living caused by a sustained stagnation of the economy. Citizens will also be deprived of various government programs such as those targeted at the economically disadvantaged – a state many more people will experience if the current trend is not reversed.
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Started in 1791, the national debt was, by those days’ standards, an incredible $75 million. Due to President Andrew Jackson’s prudent approach to government spending, the national debt was lowered to, again adjusted to today’s standards, a much lower level – $37 thousand (Suter, 2004). According to the Commerce Department, the yearly payment on this debt, the deficit, reached $725.8 billion. This represents a 17.5 percent increase from 2004 (Armstrong, 2006). These figures are well past most peoples’ comprehension. If, for example, a person were to spend a million dollars a day since the birth of Christ, they would have to continue the spending spree for 700 more years to have spent one trillion dollars. Multiply that amount by eight. That still does not equal the current national debt. The massive increase of debt was not used for infrastructure, education, public programs or even to finance a war.
The nation at present is facing many crises including the war in Iraq, illegal immigration, health care, etc., but the one of most importance is the national debt. It alone could tip the balance of power in the world. The U.S. would follow the lead and policies of other nations and be plunged into a third-world-like economic status. Maybe the most troubling aspect of the debt is that it is future generations of Americans that will be most affected by the greed of the present generation.
Armstrong, David. (2006). “U.S. Racks Up Record Trade Deficit in ’05: $725.8 Billion Total is 17.5% Increase Over 2004’s Mark.” San Francisco Chronicle. Web.
Suter, Keith. (2004). “The Next International ‘Debt Crisis’ is in North America.” Online Opinion. Web.