Presidential Candidates Need to Get Serious About the Federal Debt
With today being Election Day, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have been ramping up their campaign efforts to swing voters into their camps. Both have been traveling to vital battleground states, bringing along their economic messages that they hope can turn out voters to the polls.
While both candidates have been outspoken about their policies, there is something concerning that neither candidate has highlighted during the entire campaign: the federal debt. Latest numbers noted in Florida TaxWatch’s July 2016 Budget Watch put the federal debt at almost $14 trillion in 2011 (as counted by the U.S. Treasury) and is forecast to reach an astonishing $87.9 trillion in 30 years. This is more than $200,000 for each of the 400 million men, women, and children expected to live in the United States in 2046.
Yet there isn’t even a mention of the federal debt, let alone an in-depth plan, on Clinton’s website and Trump’s position has changed wildly. On his campaign website, he has a 26 second video calling to pay down the debt but Trump recently went on CNBC and said now is the time to borrow even more money, a complete 180 from what he says in the video.
This lack of concern by the two major party nominees is astounding. The federal government continues to spend more money than it brings in, resulting in a deficit and requiring the United States to borrow money to fund programs. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently announced that the federal government will face a $590 billion budget shortfall this year. This out-of-control spending has inflated the country’s debt significantly. Without significant fiscal reform, the CBO projects that debt will reach 86 percent of GDP in ten years and reach 141 percent by 2046.
What happened to the outrage of the growing federal debt? The federal debt has received hardly a peep from either candidate. The most distressing part is that both candidates’ proposed policies would add to the debt and despite what some people will tell you, the United States can’t simply declare bankruptcy and fix its problems.
Both candidates should discuss ways to pay down our federal debt. Solutions like cuts to wasteful spending, raising the Social Security retirement age and implementing a balanced budget amendment like we have in Florida are ways to stem the deficit and allow us to honor our debts. These obviously aren’t the only solutions and there should be thoughtful debate about the outcomes and consequences of these policies, but they are just a few ideas that could be considered by Trump and Clinton.
While issues like terrorism, job creation and immigration are important topics that merit serious discussion in the political arena, ignoring the ballooning federal debt threatens the future of our country. It is high time that whoever wins the election for the most powerful position in the world take a serious stand on paying down the federal debt.