~ by Laurie Maga and Lynn
Anyone interested in the debt of our government needs to glance at the US national debt clock. A quick glance at this clock will scare anyone who has ever owed money on a credit card. The numbers literally are scrolling higher by the millisecond.
The government has 29 Trillion dollars that need to be paid off. However, instead of instituting fiscally responsible programs by curbing its spending, the Biden administration is asking to spend more.
"Raising the debt limit comes down to paying what we already owe ... not anything new," Biden said at a White House news conference. However, the "build back better plan is an expensive undertaking. According to Committee for Responsible Federal Budget, "Under current law, debt is already slated to reach a new record – 106.4 percent of GDP – by 2031. Under Build Back Better, it would hit that record sooner and grow much faster."
The majority of Americans have not considered the consequences of government debt being out of control. Possible consequences of debt being so high are:
Reduced Public Investment "Over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that interest costs will total $5.4 trillion under current law. Currently, the United States spends over $900 million per day on interest payments"
.Reduced Private Investment Innovation and entrepreneurship will be stifled due to higher interest rates and lack of confidence in the government.
Fewer Economic Opportunities for Americans "If high levels of debt crowd out private investments in capital goods, workers would have less to use in their jobs, which would translate to lower productivity and, therefore, lower wages.
Greater Risk of a Fiscal Crisis A rapid increase in Treasury rates could also lead to higher rates of inflation, which would reduce the value of outstanding government securities and result in losses by holders of those securities — including mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, and banks — which could further destabilize the U.S. economy and erode confidence in U.S. currency on an international scale.
Challenges to National Security Fiscal security is also closely linked to our national security and ability to maintain a leading role in the world. As Admiral Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, put it: “The most significant threat to our national security is our debt.” As the national debt grows, not only are we more beholden to creditors around the globe, but we have fewer resources to invest in strength at home.
While many democrats point the finger at President Trump for the current debt due to his tax cuts, It is important to note, that the largest increase in debt came from his predecessor President Obama. According to Self, "President Obama holds the title for growing the national debt the most dollar-wise. In total, debt levels increased by $8.34 trillion (70%), from $11.9 trillion in 2009 to $20.2 trillion in 2017. This makes him the President with the eleventh largest increase in National Debt in Presidential history."
Total Debt Change Per President
What could help remedy this federal debt is to eliminate programs that are redundant or outdated. According to Heritage Foundation, there are several government programs that exist today, that benefit very little.
Natural Resource Conservation Service "In 1935, the Natural Resource Conservation Service was set up to help farmers minimize soil erosion. Today, this 12,000-person agency has 2,500 field offices and costs taxpayers a cool $800 million per year. Yet the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) has found zero difference in soil erosion between areas that participate in the program and those that don't. If Congress cut this program it would save taxpayers $3.5 billion over five years"
The Rural Electrification Administration "also created in 1935, was supposed to help bring electricity to rural areas. In 1949, it expanded to include telephone service. Last time I checked, just about everybody in America except the Unabomber had electricity and telephones. Think it might be time to get rid of this one? Five-year savings: $1.8 billion."
The U.S. Geological Survey "Was established in 1879 to catalog the geology and mineral resources of the United States. Mission accomplished! Yet the USGS still gets $739 million taxpayer dollars per year. If we want fancy, detailed maps showing every gopher hole in the country, there's no reason a private company can't do it. Five-year savings: $3.4 billion."
The Rural Housing Development Service "Provided housing loans to rural residents during the Great Depression. Lawmakers who open their history books will find an amazing fact: The Depression is over! Private lenders now serve rural residents well. Yet the RHDS still lends more than $1 billion each year, with one of the highest default rates of any government program. Eliminating it would save taxpayers $2 billion over five years."
The Public Health Service Commission Corps "was created in the late 1800s to provide health care to merchant seamen. Its members still have military ranks, are paid according to Pentagon pay scales, and are eligible for retirement pensions after 20 years -- yet they haven't been part of the military since 1952! They do practically nothing in their official capacity (their leadership lobbied Congress to avoid service in the Gulf War!), yet they cost taxpayers $452 million in 1994. Decommissioning the corps would save taxpayers $625 million over five years."
The Depression-era Davis-Bacon Act "requires companies contracting with the federal government to pay "prevailing wages" -- meaning union-scale -- to their workers. Meant to protect unionized contractors from lower-cost competitors, the Act's ulterior motive was to discriminate against contractors using non-union workers -- frequently minorities. Ending this competition-stifling measure would save taxpayers nearly $9 billion over five years."
The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency "was established in 1962 to decrease the number of nuclear weapons the United States and the Soviet Union were aiming at each other. Hmmm, let's see: Deployed strategic nuclear warheads on both sides increased from a few hundred to more than 10,000 between 1962 to 1990. The only thing ACDA did successfully was negotiate the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, which keeps America from defending itself against missile attack. The Cold War is over, folks. Five-year savings: $42 million."
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting "was created in 1967 when people only had access to a few broadcast stations with limited viewing fare. Am I mistaken, or is this no longer a problem? People get upset about cutting "Sesame Street." So privatize it. The success of "Car Talk" and Garrison Keillor means PBS (public television) and NPR (National Public Radio) can make it on their own. After all, federal funding covers only 14 percent of public broadcasting's funding anyway. Five-year savings: $1.3 billion."
The Economic Development Administration "duplicates the activities of at least 62 other community development programs. The EDA will spend $350 million this year to spur local economic growth. Yet a recent GAO study found the EDA had no impact at all. Zippo. Five-year savings: $933"