Inflation has been low for so long that most Americans forget how costly it is to live in a high-inflation economy. A rapidly escalating debt could remind them very quickly.
It can also mean bad news for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. These massive programs are the main reason debt is growing by leaps and bounds. Yet Congress still hasn’t taken the steps necessary to make these programs affordable and sustainable. Such a head-in-the-sand mentality can only jeopardize benefits for those who need them the most.
Spending can’t continue to rise at these unsustainable levels. In 2012, Washington collected $2.4 trillion in taxes, more than $20,000 per household. Sounds like a lot -- and it is. But it wasn’t enough. The federal government actually spent $3.5 trillion.
“Lord, the money we do spend on government,” Will Rogers once quipped. “And it’s not one bit better than the government we got for one-third the money 20 years ago.”
More than 80 years after he said that, the problem’s only worsened. Too much drag makes it impossible for an airplane to fly. The same is true for economies. Lawmakers need to get serious about taming the debt, not take bows for fleeting improvements.