While all the children in both the Republican and the Democratic Parties are throwing sand around, pulling faces at each other and pissing in the sandpit, the US federal debt hit a grim milestone, just $600 billion shy of $20 trillion. Repeat that to yourself: twenty trillion dollars. Twenty thousand billion dollars. Twenty million million dollars.
And a helpful reminder:
On Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, Congress passed the â€œBipartisan Budget Act,â€ which suspended the legal debt limit until March 15, 2017. President Obama signed that bill into law on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015.
At the close of business on Oct. 30, the federal debt stood at $18,152,981,685,747.52.
In the less than nine months since then, the federal debt has increased by $1,249,380,205,181.94.
Thatâ€™s right, it took just nine months to pile up another one and a quarter trillion of government debt.
There was a time in American history when the government debt was higher as a percentage of the GDP â€“ it was during the Second World War, when America was fighting an existential struggle on two fronts against two totalitarian empires. By 1945, the debt was about $2.5 trillion â€“ in todayâ€™s dollars. In 2016, the American government is merely waging war on its own people: the current and the future taxpayers.
Neither major political party is talking about it or has a plan for eliminating budget deficits, reducing debt and shrinking the government. This is not surprising for the Democrats – Bill Clinton was the last one to care about it â€“ but itâ€™s a tragedy for the Republicans, who in the past at least pretended to care.
I believe that when we look back decades from now (unless weâ€™re mercifully wiped out by a meteorite) we will see this, more than any other issue, and that includes terrorism, as a defining failure of the present age.