America’s Debt Disaster Is Almost Here

    Romina Boccia

    Politics, North America

    Treasury Secretary Mnuchin sits under a display of the U.S. national debt as he testifies to the House Financial Services Committee in Washington

    Over the years, too many lawmakers have become drunk on spending. And in Washington, the party is going full-tilt.

    The U.S. economy is in the midst of a prolonged period of economic growth, relative peace and increasing prosperity. It has prompted lawmakers to spend recklessly, seemingly without consequences. But every wild party has to wind down sometime. And for Congress, the debt hangover is near.

    Most everyone enjoys a good party, but as folks down more and more alcohol, they lose more and more restraint. They become even more likely to keep overindulging. But ultimately, the sun comes up; the party ends, and the hangover sets in.

    Over the years, too many lawmakers have become drunk on spending. And in Washington, DC the party is going full-tilt.

    So far, they’ve run up a tab of $ 20.6 trillion in debt. That’s more than our Gross Domestic Product. They’re now in the habit of burning through more than $ 4 trillion every year and are on track to start racking up trillion-dollar deficits every year forward.

    And now they’ve agreed to supercharge the deficit.

    One way to think about the budget deal just struck by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, is to imagine two buddies driving to the liquor store in the middle of the night to get more booze for a raging party. And because they are already drunk, they buy way more booze than makes any sense to any sober person.

    The massive budget deal just passed by Congress calls for way more spending than any reasonable person would even consider. It takes an already deficit-ridden balance sheet and piles on what amounts to an additional $ 420 billion in spending, when interest costs on debt are included. That’s more than a 10 percent increase over last year’s $ 4 trillion budget.

    To put the spending increase in perspective: this is the single largest federal spending increase since Congress passed the stimulus bill during the Great Recession.

    To make this happen, lawmakers had to blow through the spending caps it imposed on itself in the Budget Control Act of 2011. And they exceed those caps by nearly $ 300 billion. That’s three times more than any of the spending cap increases enacted under President Obama.

    Busting the Budget Control Act spending limits is not an achievement. It’s fiscally reckless.

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