U.S. National Debt Now Tops $30 Trillion

The U.S. national debt now stands at an absolutely staggering $30 trillion. For context, and to better understand how truly out-of-control the national debt has become, consider the following. In 1980, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio was 34.5 percent. By 2000, it jumped to 59.3 percent. As of now, it stands at 128 percent.

The COVID-19 pandemic, or more accurately Congress’ unprecedented multi-trillion dollar spending binge to fight it, has exploded the national debt like never before. In fact, the federal government’s $6 trillion response to COVID-19 eclipsed the amount of money the government spent during both world wars–combined.

For the average American, the ever-increasing national debt is likely not one of the foremost issues they are most concerned with, however, it should be.

As of now, the debt per taxpayer exceeds $239,000. Although it is highly unlikely that the U.S. government will ever send every taxpayer a bill to repay the debt, the American taxpayers will foot the bill regardless.

The more the national debt increases, the more likely the federal government will borrow/print more money to sustain it. The more money the federal government pumps into the system, the less each dollar is worth. In other words, as the government keeps digging, the American people keep getting buried.

Of course, the so-called experts at the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve are well aware of this problem. However, they refuse to address it and continue to pursue reckless fiscal and monetary policies that are actually making the problem worse.

In 2000, the U.S. M2 Money Supply, the total number of dollars in circulation, was about $4 trillion. As of this writing, it now exceeds $22 trillion. The devaluation of the dollar is great for government because it keeps interest payments on the debt manageable, but it is terrible for American taxpayers, who carry the brunt of the inflation tax.

From failed experiments such as near-zero interest rates and quantitative easing to modern monetary theory, in which “debts and deficits don’t matter,” the list is long.

Even worse, more Americans than ever before are becoming dependent on Uncle Sam. Keep in mind, during the pandemic, the federal government sent trillions in direct checks, rental assistance, increased food stamp benefits, etc. to millions of Americans.

Yet, at some point, the rubber will meet the road and the national debt will need to be addressed. Instead of pursuing socialist policies that increase government, it is imperative that policymakers gin up the political will to reduce the size and scope of government.

One simple solution to the national debt problem is a balanced budget amendment. Fortunately, momentum for a balanced budget amendment is increasing, especially at the state level, where an Article V Convention could soon take place.

But, more importantly, we the people must make our voices loud and clear that we will not allow the federal government to continually spend our nation into oblivion.

PHOTO: government spending. Photo by 401(K) 2012. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). 

Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is the editorial director and a research fellow at The Heartland Institute, as well as a researcher and contributing editor at StoppingSocialism.com.