Federal Debt Officially Surpasses $16 Trillion
It's no surprise that the Republicans have tried to make our astronomical debt and eroding economy the central issues in their 2012 convention campaign.
Yesterday – Tuesday, September 4 – the Treasury Department officially announced that the gross debt of the United States of America had reached $16 trillion.
At that time, The Weekly Standard reported the debt clock reflected a debt amount of $16,015,769,788,215.80.
This is the first time in our nation's history that the debt has surpassed this monumental mark.
$5.4 trillion was added in the years Obama was president; the calculation was made based on data from January 20, 2009 to September 3, 2012.
To get a better visual of just how quickly our debt is rising, take a look at this chart showing debt increases since the year 2000.
Senator Jeff Session, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, remarked that we now have more government debt per person than Portugal, Italy, Spain, or Greece. Session is quite concerned with how President Barrack Obama is going to tackle this issue, especially with a budget plan that would add another $66,000 in debt for every American household.
Naturally, Republicans are using the latest news regarding the debt crisis to convince constituents that this is the #1 reason they should not re-elect President Obama.
House Speaker John Boehner has criticized the president for his lack of “courage” when it comes to working with his political foes in order to cut entitlement spending and overhaul the tax code. Boehner adds:
"This debt is a drain on our economy and a crushing burden on our kids and grandkids, and it's yet another indication that the president's policies have made things worse... another sad reminder of President Obama's broken promise to cut the deficit in half."
Obama's administration has countered these attacks suggesting that Republicans built the debt, adding that Republicans were mostly silent about the explosion in national debt under Reagan, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr.
No matter who you blame, the situation is bleak with an even more grim outlook. Washington needs to buckle down and brainstorm some more viable solutions to the fiscal disaster.
Senator Jeff Sessions sums it up rather concisely:
"We are on a dramatically unsustainable path. Forty cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed. Systemic factors, such as our aging population, make this the most serious financial challenge our nation has ever faced. This year will mark the fourth straight deficit in excess of a trillion dollars. In the last 3 months, more people have been permanently been added to the disability rolls than have found jobs. The IRS is mailing billions of dollars in tax credits to illegal aliens, and the USDA is partnering with Mexico to boost enrollment in food stamps. Washington is disconnected from reality.
This year's election is pivotal in the minds of many voters who are desperately clinging to the hope that a strong executive leader will help end the financial chaos and spur renewed economic growth and sustainability.+15
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