U.S. debt a crushing problem

Anderson is a senior political science major from Cumming. He is currently writing a thesis about U.S. interventions.

Elijah Anderson

Last week I took the liberty of pegging the Tea Party as the faction responsible for the government shutdown still raging on. Continued efforts to circumvent the Affordable Care Act’s implementation through such reprehensible tactics remain to be both childish and reckless, especially as it harms average Americans simply trying to make a living.

An equally pressing issue that is being lost in the mist of the headline-grabbing government shutdown is the looming deadline of raising the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling, or the legal amount of debt our government can accrue, must be raised by our woefully incompetent Congress before Thursday or our country will default on the payments we owe and litanies of disastrous consequences begin to emerge.

During the 2011 debt-ceiling debates the Dow-Jones Industrial Average fell a shocking 2,000 points, and the U.S. credit rating was downgraded for the first time in history. In other words, it absolutely sucked for our economy and reputation. Consumer confidence was shaken and the lethargic recovery was rattled by the dramatic late-night dealings of Congress, and this was even though a compromise was made and the debt ceiling was raised!

Failing to raise the debt ceiling this time will prove just as damaging to our economy if not worse than in 2011. It will signal that we, the most powerful country in the world, are incapable of paying our bills in a timely manner. A display like this will translate negatively into the financial markets where businesses and other investors will be uncertain of how to react. Some economists are even projecting that a failure to raise the debt ceiling could launch us into another recession, far worse than the one we are finally emerging from. Businesses will be unlikely to hire, proving damaging for students coming out of university with thousands of dollars of student loans to pay off.  This, among other things, evidences why the debt ceiling must be raised, but I do not unconditionally agree.

With all this being said the United States has a serious spending problem. Our debt stands at nearly $17 trillion. Democrats are sure to point out that the debt ceiling, since its inception during WWI has never been used as a bargaining chip before, but I would like to point out that the debt that we owe has never been so astronomically high. Desperate times often call for desperate measures and President Obama is wrong for refusing to negotiate with Republicans on spending cuts. Our spending habits stand to ruin our financial future and the Republican Party seems to be the only entity conscious of this issue. It’s time for Democrats to wake up and realize this problem too.