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U.S. debt blitzes past $16 trillion

It’s official — the United States national debt topped $16 trillion Tuesday, Sept. 4 morning. It has been flirting with the $16 trillion mark for a month or so. It is now official — we are in debt to the tune of $51,074.32 per citizen. That’s every man, woman and child in the Unites States of America. No, one cannot pay ahead and consider one’s debt is paid while the debt clock continues to balloon.

A few other facts to consider: we are spending $3.88 billion a day. We’ve been doing that since Sept. 28, 2007.

The national debt is the amount of money the U.S. government owes. The federal government’s deficit is the annual amount the government spends versus the amount of money the U.S. treasury takes in during a given year.

Our national debt has been growing steadily since the 1970s. It took a dramatic surge during the 2000s. That’s when our nation went to war against terrorism.

During the eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency, the national debt rose $4.899 trillion. Bush’s last day in office the debt was at $10.626 trillion.

In the first three years of President Barack Obama, the debt has grown to its current level of $16 trillion.

Debt had been an issue as far back as Reagan and Clinton. “According to U.S. Treasury figures at Debt to the Penny, on January 20, 1993, as Bill Clinton took office, the total outstanding public debt was $4.1 trillion. On January 19, 2001, that same figure had increased to $5.7 trillion,” according to the National Review.

So, it went from $5.7 trillion when Clinton left office to $10.6 trillion when Bush left and is now at $16 trillion. At this pace, the United States will be at $20 trillion before the next president leaves office. That is of course, if we continue to increase our debt at $1.6 trillion per year.

It’s clear that Republican and Democratic presidents have been spending more than we are capable of paying off. The only president to reduce the debt during his term in office was Clinton. However, after reducing the debt, it did rise before he left office as is pointed out earlier.

What’s the solution? The easy answer is to stop spending what we don’t have. The difficult part of that answer is whose ox is gored?

Keith Hansen

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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