Think the federal government’s debt is no big deal?

Perhaps a new TIME article will change your mind:

The Congressional Budget Office projects that within 12 years, federal debt could reach 100% of GDP, putting the U.S. deeper in the hole than bankrupt Ireland or Portugal; the bond raters from S&P have good reason to be worried. America’s largest creditor, China, which has been wagging its finger about the state of U.S. finances for the past three years, took the opportunity recently to urge the U.S. to adopt more “responsible measures” to protect investors. This came on the back of a hand slap from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) just a few weeks prior. The IMF had rebuked the U.S. for its lack of a “credible strategy” to stabilize its debt — an indignity once reserved for poor countries.

Having survived the melodrama of the threatened government shutdown, Americans are waking up to the fact that the real budget battles lie ahead. The shutdown derby produced a budget that will supposedly cut $38 billion from this year’s federal spending. But the real cuts will be far smaller and will scarcely dent the national debt of $14.2 trillion. Republican budget hawks in Congress, championed by the House Budget Committee chairman, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, are now demanding cuts measured in the trillions — and threatening to not raise the permitted federal-debt ceiling unless they get them. That would force the Treasury to cease borrowing once the ceiling is reached this summer, causing chaos in government programs and a renewed recession.

Jonah Goldberg discussed the debt limit vote in a recent interview with

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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