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One Nation Under Debt

national debt security

Yoga classes for bureaucrats. Brown snake eradication program. Congressional pensions. Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund. Those are actual lines in recent federal budgets totaling $150,000, $668,000, $38 million, and $65 million respectively.

All are “chump change” compared to $363 billion (with a “b”) to be spent this year on interest on the debt. That’s $53 billion higher than last year, a 17% increase. Interest payments are now 8% of the budget and increasing, crowding out vital programs and priorities. 

What do Americans get for $363 billion? Absolutely nothing. Interest is the price paid for decades of spending beyond revenues, as finance charges on credit cards pay for privileges to spend beyond one’s income.

The federal budget deficit will hit $984 billion for the year ending September 30 and could top $1 trillion. Add interest to spending on the four largest programs— Social Security, Defense/Veterans, Medicare, and Medicaid, and you reach 82 percent of the entire budget. These are precisely the programs politicians say must not be touched. Even Social Security, self-funded through payroll taxes, ran a deficit in 2018. That will continue until it reaches insolvency in 2034. Past surpluses are allowing it to continue without benefit cuts now.

What if you eliminated every item other than “The Big Four”? While no one would advocate that, you still could not reach balance. And “everything else” is a lot—air traffic controllers, parks, disease research, FBI, and federal courts and prisons, to list a pittance of programs and agencies. The Congressional Budget Office projects the U.S. will pay more in interest to service debt than it will spend on Defense in five years.

All past deficits equal today’s $22 trillion national debt, $66,000 for every citizen and $178,000 per taxpayer. Tax cuts, wars, and economic stimulus have each added trillions. Both parties deserve blame.

The insanity cannot continue much longer. Consider a mortgage where a borrower pays interest only and keeps passing the loan down generation to generation such that no one pays back principal.  What bank would ever agree to never getting its money? Or, picture lending money to an individual or business that comes back for more funds each year. At some point any sane person would fear not getting back what was lent (let alone interest owed) and put a stop to further lending.

Creditors of the U.S. government will reach the same conclusion. Fully 45 percent of debt held by the public is owned by foreign investors. China is the largest single holder. Creditors will demand higher interest rates as the risk increases to loan the U.S. money. The catastrophe to our entire financial system will be when investors simply have no confidence in lending to the U.S. government at all.

What then? “Then” is too late. AMAC advocates for reducing federal spending now and has even taken the tough but necessary stand to preserve and modernize Social Security. AMAC now calls for the creation of a fund to eliminate the debt and strengthen our nation. 

First, Congress and the President must do their part and balance the budget. That stops adding to the $22 trillion. Second, citizens can do their part. The debt cannot be eliminated in years or even decades. But we can start with “America’s Security Fund”

AMAC urges America’s Fortune 500 companies help save the country. A “we didn’t cause this problem” is no excuse. As an integral part of the economy, companies must be involved. If each contributed $1 million, $500 million would be collected. A $2 million contribution yields $1 billion. Individuals could contribute on tax forms with an added line. 

Contributions to “America’s Security Fund” would not be tax deductible and could be spent for debt reduction only after the federal budget is balanced. The fund would be overseen by a Board, chaired by the Treasury Secretary and prominent Americans from the public and private sectors, academia, unions, large corporations, and business.

Publicity is vital. Research shows people donate to causes if they know others are doing so. AMAC will inform its membership. We look to government, civic and religious groups, and businesses to aid in this enterprise America’s future depends on it.  

The Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) is a senior benefits organization with 1.7 million members.  Jeff Szymanski works in AMAC Political Communications and taught economics for 15 years at Walpole High School in Walpole, MA.

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Hal Lemoyne
3 years ago

Hey politicans in our US great State of Montana

don’t sell Montana to Canada

if any monies with given to Canada

then let this monies come from all the investment monies that

belong to all the demoncratic leaders that hold any type of US power

take all their saving investment they acquired & incurred

since they been corrupt politicians

I’m sure there enough monies to pay any/all financial debt’s they’ve all incurred

with their unsuccessful corrupt dealing with Canada

this needs to be the TRUMPing Truth!!!

Donald Tucker
3 years ago

We are doomed!

Donald Tucker
3 years ago
Reply to  Donald Tucker

“The insanity cannot continue much longer. Consider a mortgage where a borrower pays interest only and keeps passing the loan down generation to generation such that no one pays back principal. What bank would ever agree to never getting its money? Or, picture lending money to an individual or business that comes back for more funds each year. At some point any sane person would fear not getting back what was lent (let alone interest owed) and put a stop to further lending.”

You have got to be kidding with this analogy. The banks like this. That’s what credit card debt is, a cycle of never ending payment and poverty to keep the masses enslaved. A bank can foreclose. What can a taxpayer do? You can’t foreclose on the government. We keep electing the same old politicians who won’t tackle the problem and we when we do elect new politicians they are socialists who will only make matters worse. We need a constitutional amendment and we also need to audit the fed. Our national dialogue doesn’t even talk about this because the media is more concerned with advocating open borders and bringing down Trump.

We are doomed! Trump is about the only person in DC fighting for the American citizen.

3 years ago

I think it would make a difference if we not only use term limits but publish the cost and what they are for every federal government employee in Wash. D.C. Do congress and an administration get paid forever even after they leave office? We have no real idea what our tax money is being used for. We need an honest accounting. Can you imagine how much money we waste just on CA politicians! Forty plus years?

3 years ago

Paying down the deficit is only smart. But why should Americans fork out more money to pay down the deficit when our government won’t stop spending and spending? Our SSI money is what we paid into our whole working lives. The government took what didn’t belong to them. It was ours. So, heck no, they shouldn’t cut there. The government puts money out on things like the study for gay lubricant, or other supercilious things like massively expensive haircuts or expensive toilet seats. These are things our taxes should NEVER pay for. Even if every American paid down the deficit, the government would spend even more. It’s like giving money to a drug addict. They would take, take, and take until they killed themselves. We have to budget. Why doesn’t the government? Cutting medicare/medicaid and ssi might be conveinient and a “quick fix”, but why take the money from the elderly who worked hard and paid into this their whole lives and turn around and give money to illegals who didn’t pay a penny into it?

Darryl olson
3 years ago

You got to be kidding. Gov needs to stop spending OUR money. Big Gov needs to be castirated.

3 years ago

Don’t start another govt. agency. That will increase the debt. Cut, cut,cut.There are so many depts. that are useless. Limit Congressional terms. And they don’t need pensions…many are already millionaires! Have mercy on the public. Show us you have brains and that AMERICA COMES FIRST!

Bob L.
3 years ago

$22 trillion??? That’s what’s on the books Several years ago, I saw a report that stated the federal government had $120 trillion in unfunded liabilities on top of the published national debt, I wonder what the figure is today.

3 years ago

Balance the federal budget? Its not part of the Democrats mantra and the Republicans have no balls. So, the Americans who
care are screwed again!!!!!

3 years ago

I really don’t taxpayers would complain much about a surtax for a few years if all the money collected went to lower the debt. But it would have to be coupled with a balanced budget amendment and make EVERYONE pay at least SOME taxes! That way they’ll have a reason to care about how the money is spent. Someone with no skin in the game could care less about where their freebies are coming from! And no one except the truly disabled who can’t work should get back more than what they’ve paid in!

Larry Ralston
3 years ago

The society in this country has developed a dependency on our Federal Government. This includes ALL facets of our society/culture. For whatever reason(s), as a whole, we do not care about deficit spending and the Nation’s debt. There is not a willingness of our population to take less from the Federal Government. And, there is no way that a Constitutional Amendment banning deficit spending will be passed. Soooo, continue the D&D until there is no country that will lend us money and let the chips fall as they may.

Keith H
3 years ago

Dirtbag politicians, their all Crooks !! We have a few good ones but for the most part “THEIR ALL CROOKS”. And as long as there able to stay term after term. Nothing will ever change !! I truly believe it is time as American Citizens that we actively stop paying our taxes !! Stop totally !! They don’t listen to us anymore. We have to band together and march on Washington and shut it down. But that takes effort and I don’t think people really care that much. We as a coordinated group have to make them change !! Or bend over and keep taking it.

Pete Harju
3 years ago

Since the time that Alexander Hamilton became the First Secretary of The U.S. Treasury the economy under the federal government has been built on debt. The 1913 Woodrow Wilson signing The Federal Reserve Act, establishing the Federal Reserve System, assured that the U.S. economy would always be funded by debt and any attempts to change it would, through severe actions, be brought to an end. In the words of Gordon Gekko “Greed is good”.

Bob W.
3 years ago

Did I just read above that Congress voted themselves $668M for their retirement benefits?

3 years ago

How about taxing politicians on their political contributions & using that money to fund this debt reduction concept?
Also, how about taxing the RNC & DNC?

3 years ago

Note to AMAC: read all the accompanying comments. They are all right on! Pay particular attention to thoughts about congress where all spending is controlled, but in reality is totally out of control. Congressional pensions are ridiculous. Spending is often even more ridiculous. The sad part is that we all know it but the train rolls on with little or no correction in sight. AMAC should be spending more effort on exposing individual politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle.

David Campbell
3 years ago

Collecting more revenue by whatever means is no solution. The problem is on the spending side. And the spending problem is rooted in the fact that the ability to spend money is power to politicians. They are in politics in the first place because they like power. Therefor the only solution is to reduce the power of government. The current government operates FAR beyond it’s constitutionally enumerated powers. Returning government to its restricted powers is the only solution.

3 years ago

No pension for these officials they are public service that is what they wanted so No pensions this garbage has to stop they are taking our money for themselves has to stop pay cut part time work is part time No pensions No healthcare No Severance No benefits Not at the cost of the Taxpayers they really don’t even work part time so this Crazies don’t deserve anything but there pay and that even needs CUT

3 years ago

There is no reason for us to be paying for pensions for bureaucrats. An elected “representative” was never meant to be a lifetime career. They should not have any hand in deciding their own salaries either. Enough of our money is wasted funding frivolous grants to study unnecessary curiosities and third world dictators and it should be redirected toward things that really matter to our citizenry.

Michael Cozzi
3 years ago

Put that money to better use

3 years ago

This was a pretty good article outlining the size, scope and ramifications of our exploding national debt. Which is quite a rarity for AMAC these days. Then the article goes completely off the rails and proposes yet another big government solution. A solution which requires what is essentially another tax (no matter how you try to dress it up otherwise AMAC), that will supposedly be deposited in a “fund” and administered, yet again, by a mix of government officials, members of academia, union leaders and a sprinkling of business executIves that will no doubt be politically hand selected for being “on board with the plan and agenda”. Seriously AMAC, does anyone at your organization even understand the principles of fiscal or constitutional conservatism or is your slogan just marketing nonsense?

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