Tripping Silently Into Debt
As I’ve noted, I’ve been pretty busy lately, so maybe I just missed it. But last year I saw all sorts of news programs highlighting every time we’d cross a debt milestone. Now I have to notice it on a blog?
Congratulations, America! You, or rather your elected officials, smashed through the $18 trillion ceiling last week, raising the United States government’s total outstanding public debt to new heights and leaving shards of devalued greenbacks scattered around the place.
Congratulations, J.D. Tuccille, for caring.
I remember getting into an argument with my dad about 12 years ago when George W. Bush was in office. My take was that he was not being a decent conservative in that he had no concerns about the national debt. If you look around, you’ll find a video of him jousting with a reporter during his campaign about it, so he had always been on that track. My dad didn’t appear concerned, saying it was mostly a problem for a future generation.
Well, that was about one third of the problem ago. We’re now at $18T in debt with no budgetary end in sight. In the least, the Republican congress is likely to actually, you know, do their freaking job and submit a budget next year, rather than just letting what’s already killing us slide on. But I don’t expect significant cuts in the budget, and I also don’t expect any significant change in tax revenues. So, we’ll borrow.
It’s really odd. The “good economic progress” that we have is really all smoke and mirrors. Unemployment is down more because large portions of people stopped looking for work, and they’re only slowly coming back into the picture. Interest rates are low because we’ve been engaging in QE for most of this period. Even if that’s ended, we tried to print our way out of the mess.
I’m not hoarding up my canned goods and ammo because we’re so far in debt. (I might be getting better prepared, but not because of the debt.) But I’m still very non-pony-finding-like in my concerns for the future when we’re ignoring key indicators that make us very unhealthy.