The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance the government’s reckless fiscal policies.
-Then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama, speaking on the Senate floor in 2006
I’m all for shooting for the stars. But this is just ridiculous. From the Associated Press today:
The United States just passed a dubious milestone: Government debt surged to an all-time high, passing $14 trillion – $45,300 for every person in the country.
That means Congress soon will have to lift the legal debt ceiling to give the almost maxed-out government an even higher credit limit or dramatically cut spending to stay under the current cap…
Remarkably, about half of today’s national debt was run up in the past six years. It soared from $7.6 trillion in January 2005 as President George W. Bush began his second term to $10.6 trillion the day President Obama was inaugurated and to $14.02 trillion now.
With a $1.7 trillion deficit in fiscal 2010 alone, and the government on track to spend $1.3 trillion more than it takes in this year, annual budget deficits are adding about $4 billion a day to the national debt. Put another way, the government is borrowing 41 cents for every dollar it spends.
In a letter to congressional leaders, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the $14.29 trillion debt limit could be reached as soon as March 31 and “most likely” by May 16. A showdown looks to be brewing over the issue, as Republicans in Congress informed President Obama and Democrats last week they won’t agree to raise the debt ceiling unless specific spending cuts are made.
“U.S. debt tops $14 trillion, nears ceiling.” Associated Press. 17 Jan. 2011. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/16/AR2011011604005.html). 17 Jan. 2011.
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