9 May 2012
United States Debt, Budget, and Spending
Citizens of the United States are no strangers to a national debt. Even Alexander Hamilton said that as a nation it is good to have a debt as long as it is regulated because it keeps us on our toes. However, in the twenty-first century the United States national debt is out of control. The definition of debt is “an obligation or liability to pay or render something to someone else”. Debt in America is enormous and its trajectory is showing a continued period of exponential growth. This debt has accrued over decades of spending that has exceeded governmental budgets. The U.S. established a debt ceiling in 1917 and made it illegal to spend above that limit. U.S. elected officials have made it common practice to raise the debt ceiling, allowing for increased spending and ever increasing economic challenges for Americans. The spending that has caused this debt includes funding for several government programs. The three largest budgeted entities are Human and Health Services (Medicare/Medicaid), Social Security, and Military. Economists have varying opinions regarding the best way to reverse the current trends. Some suggest reductions in military spend while others suggest less Social Security and entitlement program payouts. The United States government needs a dramatic shift in budget and spending practices to stop annual national debt increases and start a disciplined approach to pay off the debt it has incurred over the past century.
The government of United States of America has had a long history of over spending. 1835 was the last time the US Federal Budget was balanced and the National Debt was paid in full under President Andrew Jackson. Nearly a century later the economic boom of the Roaring '20s allowed the Federal Budget to run surpluses for ten consecutive years. In the 1930s and 1940s, depression and war initiated a half-century of chronic budget...