Yesterday, the United States hit an unsavory milestone–$15 trillion in total national debt. Unfortunately, the number shouldn’t have come as a surprise. America’s debt has been growing at a rapid clip.
How bad is America’s spending problem? Heritage’s Alison Fraser, Patrick Knudsen and Mackenzie Eaglen put it into context:
At $1.3 trillion, the deficit for fiscal year (FY) 2011 was the third consecutive year of deficits exceeding $1 trillion. These deficits are larger than the largest deficit during World War II when adjusted for inflation. Even under President Obama’s February budget, which includes many unrealistic assumptions and budget gimmicks, the deficit would never fall below about $750 billion. From there, the President’s proposed deficits would rise back into the trillion-dollar range by the end of the decade.
According to Fraser, total national debt has gone up by almost $700 billion since the first of August (the heat of the debt limit debate). This new $15 trillion debt milestone has particular relevance headed into next week when the congressional “super committee” faces its deadline for finding $1.5 trillion in budget savings by Thanksgiving. Washington has brought the nation into a fiscal nightmare, and now this committee is tasked with finding ways to pare that spending back.
Some are calling for tax increases as a way to solve this problem, but inadequate revenue isn’t the issue — too much spending is. And The Heritage Foundation has set forth three pillars of reform for the super committee, including fully funding national defense, transforming entitlement programs, and not raising taxes. Heritage has also provided a detailed plan by which the super committee could accomplish that goal.