And just in case you’re wondering, that’s $30,000 in debt for each man, woman and child in America. In terms of educational attainment, that’s nearly one full year at a private institution for every human being in the United States of America! And the boomers haven’t even retired yet, which will only add to the fiscal fire that has been raging.
The national debt – the total accumulation of annual budget deficits – is up from $5.7 trillion when President Bush took office in January 2001 and it will top $10 trillion sometime right before or right after he leaves in January 2009.
Now, this is where I unleash my “less partisan rhetoric, more solutions” diatribe. While the Associated Press wrote an entirely balanced piece on the topic, many bloggers and newshounds have focused on Bush’s failures in their continued disdain for the president. Look – the fact of the matter is this: Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat – liberal or conservative, the U.S. budget crisis should be on your radar; this calamity needs to be a priority.
Partisan hacks spend too much time focusing on finding a villain instead of utilizing energies for educational and advocacy purposes. Sure, Bush has aggravated fiscal issues with two wars, but people are so distracted by this agitation that they are failing to examine the bigger issue: the lack of government intervention that has spanned across party lines.
This county has needed to address its debt for quite some time now. After all, the nation is barely making its interest payments! This problem isn’t new, but it’s approaching “uncontrollable” status, so it’s finally inching its way onto the radar. Where will we be in 100 years – let alone in 43 years (in 2050, when the national debt is estimated to make up 350 percent of the GDP)? Simply stated: If we don’t intervene soon, it’s going to be too late. Even Ross Perot estimated that we’d face this challenge (I know. Please forgive me, if you will, for using “even” as though Perot should be deemed a fiscal expert, but hey – the man’s a billionaire; he must know a thing or two about balancing his checkbook):
Texas Billionaire Ross Perot made paying down the national debt a central element of his quixotic third-party presidential bid in 1992. The national debt then stood at $4 trillion and Perot displayed charts showing it would soar to $8 trillion by 2007 if left unchecked. He was about a trillion low.
So, if this is the case (that his early prediction has proven valid), and if we know that George W. Bush entered the white house with a $5.7 trillion debt (an increase from the $4 trillion Perot saw during his analysis), how can we simply blame one political party for the fiscal debacle America has found herself in? Let’s first stop the blame game, and then let’s work to fix this looming cloud. After all, if left unchecked it will continue to grow, as it threatens the livelihood of future generations.
In the end, both Democrats and Republicans can blame themselves for continually ignoring the debt challenge. Current candidates refuse to adequately address it as well, which is another concerning issue entering the 2008 campaign. The next president must take initiative to contain the damage; the wealth of the future depends on it – literally. While Bush may have “agitated” the problem in the minds of some, the mounting debt is a clear-cut indicator that the current U.S. system is not structurally sound. In the end, we need to push our legislatures to move quickly to cap our debt ceiling, while working to chip away at our nation’s $9 trillion credit card balance.