Any day now the total debt of the United States government will top $20 trillion.
That eye-catching number should prompt all of us to reflect on what the growing debt means for future generations (a lot) and whether our elected officials have a plan to deal with it (they don’t).
The most important thing to recognize about the $20 trillion debt is that its size in dollar terms is not as important as the fact that it is on an unsustainable track.
Former Ambassador and Three Former Congressmen Discuss Fiscal Challenges Facing Newly Elected LeadersDecember 13, 2016
Three former congressmen and a retired U.S. ambassador warned of the difficult fiscal policy challenges facing the incoming Trump administration and congressional leaders at a forum last week in Concord, N.H.
Budget experts urged the incoming Trump administration and congressional leaders to address the country’s long-term fiscal challenges at two events in Washington last week.
The first segment of the first presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump was dedicated to achieving prosperity.
That provided an opportunity for the moderator to ask about -- and the candidates to talk about -- their respective plans for putting the nation’s projected debt on a sustainable path. It’s hard to see how prosperity can be achieved, or long maintained, with a debt that is projected to reach unsustainable levels.
Unfortunately, the subject was not discussed.
Even casual observers of today’s federal budget process can see it is badly broken.
Congress has repeatedly failed to pass budget resolutions. Failure to pass appropriations bills has become the norm, forcing lawmakers to rely on continuing resolutions, bills that simply extend prior spending regardless of shifting priorities. And efforts to negotiate legislation on a long-term fiscal plan are non-existent.
The penny plan to reduce spending by one cent on every dollar (one percent a year) has been bouncing around Washington for years but is now getting a higher profile with versions supported by the Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi and the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump.
Former U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette, a long-time champion of bipartisan fiscal reform, died last week at age 62 after fighting pancreatic cancer.
A new report from the Congressional Budget Office reviews the serious problems facing the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s (PBGC) multiemployer program and analyzes proposed solutio