Originally published August 10 2011
U.S. debt crisis worsens as borrowing tops 100 percent of GDP
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Nothing says "debt crisis" like borrowing more money than you take in over the course of a year, but that's what the U.S. government has done.
The ink from President Barack Obama's signature was barely dry on legislation raising the government's already staggering debt ceiling when Uncle Sam was back in the loan department seeking hundreds of billions of dollars.
Less than 24 hours after the ceiling was raised, the government borrowed another $238 billion to bring the national debt to an amount equal to the sum of all the goods and services sold in the U.S. in a year - more than $14.5 trillion.
And while it may seem like just a number, maybe this will put it all into perspective. The United States - by far the world's largest economy - is now on par with some of the world's smallest economies, like Belgium and Italy, in that they have a public debt that surpasses their GDP.
How proud our current crop of congressmen, policymakers and presidents must be to have taken a first-world nation that produced most what the rest of the globe consumed and, in just over a generation, transformed it into a third-world debtor nation that produces less and less, consumes more and borrows money to pay its bills.
Longtime television news journalist Tom Brokaw wrote of "The Greatest Generation" of Americans who weathered the worst economic crisis in history. They fought and won the greatest war the world has ever witnessed, and still managed to keep their checkbook in the black, the economy growing, people productive and the government well.
Though the U.S. government's debt was 100 percent of GDP in 1947, just two years after WWII ended, by 1981 that amount had fallen to just 32.5 percent.
No doubt that successive administrations since have sought to increase the national debt. But it has really ballooned since 2000, when it was just under $6 trillion. In 11 years, it's grown to more than the entire country's total annual economic output, a year sooner than the International Monetary Fund predicted in 2010.
During the Clinton administration, the fiscal moniker was, "It's the economy, stupid." That has changed; now, "it's the debt, stupid," and that's a message both major parties just don't seem to get.
The lesson here - why we're in the economic mess we are in - is that buying votes is expensive. We didn't borrow more money than our entire country makes in a year to fight the tyranny of an Adolph Hitler or to ward off the imperialism of a militaristic nation that attacked us.
Our lawmakers did it to favor with the electorate by promising them trillions of dollars' worth of entitlements without any way to pay for it except to keep borrowing against our children's future. And it's a phony numbers game that has been going on for years.
It took months for Congress to get a debt-ceiling-and-spending-cut bill passed that ultimately continues to add to the nation's debt by authorizing even more borrowing without substantially cutting spending on the entitlement line items that are breaking us. It's no wonder the government's credit rating took a hit. It was the next logical step.
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