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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/14/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

You may not mind the national debt, but your kids will.

Whip out the Congressional Express Card, we've got bills to pay - later. The federal government is on track to achieve its fifth $1 trillion deficit in a row starting with a $120 billion shortfall for October. That figure is 22 percent higher than it was last October.

Congressional Express Card, never visit Washington without it.

Congressional Express Card, never visit Washington without it.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/14/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Congressional Express, Obama, deficit, trillion, debt, national, ceiling, credit


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - The rising deficit puts added pressure on Obama and Congress to work together to come up with a deficit reduction plan before the nation falls off the proverbial "fiscal cliff" in January.

If Congress cannot reach a debt deal before then, a blend of draconian spending cuts will take automatic effect, possibly triggering another recession.

Obama's record on spending is lavish. Only in the past four years has the nation seen annual trillion dollar deficits. These deficits are added to the national debt.

The deficit, to put it simply, is the balance due on the national credit card. Just like a household with a credit card, the plastic can be used in emergencies to cover unexpected bills. However, deficit spending has just become another way of financing the government which continues to spend well beyond its means.

The money the government borrows to deficit spend must be repaid, albeit later and with interest. This has the effect of sticking the next generation with the bill. Deficit spending provides money for wars, welfare, and tax cuts today, but will mean less money for everything in a decade or two.

While today Americans enjoy generous benefits from the government, a robust military, and hefty tax breaks, these will be paid back by the next generation.

The challenge then, is for the government to make tough cuts by carefully managing programs which are essential to national welfare and eliminating others that are more discretionary.

Unfortunately, which programs are deemed essential is a question of opinion, one which proves divisive between Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Nobody is willing to sacrifice their constituents' favorite programs.

Meanwhile, the fiscal cliff, could undo the Gordian Knot by triggering automatic tax increases as well as deep spending cuts. The problem of course, is the risk of recession. Going over the cliff will almost certainly trigger a recession, at least through the first half of 2013. Recessions are expensive for national governments, who must now care for the millions of unemployed and hungry.

Even if the government can agree to spending cuts and tax increases and a recession is avoided, the national deficit is still expected to grow by about $1 trillion.

Congress must grapple with this issue as well as the debt ceiling, which will be reached, coincidentally, by the end of December. The limit on the national credit card is $16.39 trillion.

Using a rough estimate of 300 million citizens, that puts the bill for every American citizen around $55,000. And eventually it must all be repaid, with interest.

Good luck, kids!

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