The Ticking Debt Bomb
Tampa—Here at the Republican Convention there is a debt clock to show how much U.S. debt will grow between the convention's beginning and end. It will be a lot, but you probably already knew that.
At this writing, the national debt is more than $15,989,000,000 and rising quickly. It may cross the $16 trillion mark before the convention is over-one of those watershed numbers most of us would rather not cross, but that we seem to be crossing pretty regularly these days.
That puts the national debt per person at nearly $51,000 and nearly $140,000 per taxpayer-meaning the average per-taxpayer debt is nearly three times the median household income.
At a special health policy briefing sponsored by the Women's YG Network in Tampa on Monday—in which I was a panelist—Conservative Member of the European Parliament Daniel Hannan discussed the growing debt problem. In his opinion, future generations will look back at us and shake their heads that we were so willing to live far beyond our means and pass that financial burden on to our children and grandchildren.
Hannan's right. But the situation will get worse, perhaps much worse, before it gets better. About the end of this year the government will be reaching its debt limit once again—just like the confrontation that put Washington and the stock market in a tailspin last August. Some members of Congress have told me they will not raise the debt limit again; it's time to cut spending.
We'll see. We should know by then whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will lead the country for the next four years. Looking at the U.S. debt clock, looking at the Republican Convention's debt clock, you know this issue is serious.
One candidate has had four years to get serious, and the federal debt has grown by $5 trillion under him. If he is as serious in the next four years as he was in the last four, the federal debt could be around $21 trillion.
Forcing us to begin to ask, what comes after "trillion."