National debt spikes to $31 trillion, but we can stop it before it nears the abyss
At the time of this writing, the United States is close to breaking its own record, and we are just at the beginning of the Great American Debt Clock. This is bad news, for our economy, and for the economy as a whole:
The country is facing the biggest national debt since World War II. And more:
The national debt (excluding the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare) stands at $22.4 trillion. This is more than the entire United States’ annual spending on education, defense, law enforcement, medical research, and space exploration.
This staggering debt, which was previously unknown and undiscussed, is now a matter of national security and economic stability.
For the last 50 years, the United States has been borrowing money to finance our wars, entitlement programs, and tax cuts. And in the process, we’ve also been inflating our national debt by about $6 trillion each year. Between the wars, we have raised the debt to $10.6 trillion. That’s the equivalent of about $1 out of every $3 we spend on the military each year.
Our massive national debt will consume a larger share of our economy in the 2020s than it did in the 2000s. In 2000, the government was spending about 17 percent of all GDP. In the next 20 years, that will shrink to just 7 percent. That’s less money to invest in infrastructure and businesses, which will be the ones responsible for creating jobs.
That means our economy will be more sluggish in the next decade, and it will struggle to keep up with other countries that are already making enormous strides toward lower unemployment and stronger economic growth.
So at what point exactly are we in trouble?
To answer that question, you have to take a deeper look at