July 29, 2014

High and Rising Debt Keeps U.S. Future at Risk

  • The national debt has grown significantly in recent years due to rising annual deficits. A deficit occurs in any year the government spends more...

Although Congress recently completed its budget process for this fiscal year and took action to avoid another federal debt crisis, Washington has again postponed action on the larger challenge of long-term fiscal sustainability.

“Our nation’s future remains at risk,” warns Paul Hansen, western states regional director for The Concord Coalition, in an op-ed this week in the Casper Star-Tribune. “While the annual deficit is down, the total federal debt is very high by historical standards and is projected to continue climbing – pushing the government’s interest payments upwards as well.”

Yet Congress has done little to address the major drivers of the large deficits projected within a few years, including rapidly growing social programs and subsidies embedded in the complex tax code.

“The math of fiscal reform is politically difficult for elected officials in both parties,” Hansen says. “They will need to tell fervent partisans, on the right and the left, that they cannot have something for nothing.”