Debt takes toll on America

Just how independent are Americans financially this Independence Day? Not very.

By the time President Barack Obama leaves office, the official national debt will have topped $20 trillion. During his time in office, the debt has nearly doubled.

But that is not the full story. An incredible amount of real debt has been hidden by what most of us would view as accounting tricks.

Adding up all our liabilities as a nation, ranging from the official debt to commitments for programs such as Social Security, reveals we owe a total of about $65 trillion. That is more than three times the gross domestic product – the total value of all goods and services we Americans produce in a year.

We are so far in over our heads that the average family of four’s share of the debt is about $800,000. Most of us would consider ourselves far from independent if we owed that much.

How did we let this happen? The bottom line is that many voters have no “skin in the game.” As many as half the people living in our country do not pay taxes. The cost of government programs matters not to them. In fact, millions of them are eager to have new programs that may help them established – because someone else will have to pay the tab.

Politicians of all varieties – Democrat, Republican and independent – love to pledge they will do something about the debt. Somehow, it never happens. Even with the best of intentions, they allow the enormous federal bureaucracy to manipulate them, year after year.

But the debt does have ramifications. It makes life more expensive and less secure for all Americans, whether we realize it or not.

Unless we do something about it, rather than merely bemoan it as we would bad weather, real independence will be just a memory.

By LH Staff