This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, October 4, 2021
No doubt you have heard quite a bit about the national debt ceiling over the past few weeks. They are threatening government shutdown and all kinds of noise if the debt ceiling is not raised. I have no interest in discussing the politics of it because that is what is making all of the noise. What I want to help you understand is what the raising of the debt ceiling means.
The latest number I could find of the current debt of the United States is 28.43 trillion dollars. Let me write this number out for you so you can see just how much that is. We are $28,430,000,000,000 in debt. To put that into perspective, all of the goods and services of our country (which means the combined amount of money that the United States can earn in a year) is 21.69 trillion. That number looks like this: $21,690,000,000,000. Here is big problem: $28,430,000,000,000 – $21,690,000,000,000 = 6,740,000,000,000. That means the federal government could confiscate every single dollar made by every corporation, every business, every transaction and every man, woman and child in our country this year, put it toward the debt and at the end of the year we would still owe 6.74 trillion dollars. We pay 300 billion, that’s $300,000,000,000 per year just to cover the interest on this debt. That translates into almost $2,400 per registered household, per year, in interest alone. If you have ever borrowed money on anything, you already know that just paying the interest on a debt does not reduce the debt by a single dollar.
And I just want you to be aware that the argument is that we need to RAISE THE DEBT CEILING. That means the conversation is to continue to borrow. If we were paying this balance down, then we would not need the credit extended. The fact that we have to extend the debt ceiling means that the balance is not coming down. In 2013, the debt was around $16 trillion. That means in the 8 years since 2013, we have increased the debt by over 12 trillion. That is $12,000,000,000,000 in increased borrowing.
The next question we need to ask is, who exactly are we borrowing all this money from? I know the fear is that we owe other countries. We have borrowed heavily from other countries, but at the end of the day, we only owe a fraction of this debt to other countries like China, Canada and Mexico. As bad as that sounds, wait until you find out where most of this money has been borrowed from. It has been borrowed from you. Most of this debt is owed to Social Security and Medicare as well as to the Federal Reserve. Any of us who are paying into those programs are the creditors of this massive debt.
I am offering no evaluation on any of this. All I am doing here is reporting what is going on. Maybe all of this government spending is a good thing and is necessary to sustain our country and maybe it isn’t. That is a question you will need to consider next time you vote. Justified or not, these are debts that will need to be paid because there are many people who have hopes and dreams for that investment in Social Security and Medicare.
There has only ever been one time in the history of our country that we have not been in debt. We were in debt because of the Revolutionary War. Andrew Jackson managed to pay the debt down to 0 during his presidency in 1835. He managed to pay off both the Revolutionary War debt and the War of 1812 debt. By the time the Civil War ended in 1865, the United States was a couple of billion dollars (in 1860s dollars) in debt, and we have never looked back. Every President since Ronald Regan has doubled the debt, and President Biden is not looking anything like a fiscal conservative.
I know that spending is necessary from a government, but if you have a child that you love and want to have the best possible future, please understand that they are going to work every day of their lives just to maintain this debt that was handed to us, and soon we will be handing to them. Somewhere we must find a way to live within our means because this current pace of debt growth is not sustainable.
May our grandchildren forgive us.