Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our National Debt

I was surprised to learn the other day that the National Debt Clock in New York has run out of digits - they had to convert the dollar sign into a one for the time being. We are now at about $10 trillion dollars. That's pretty bad. What's worse, our debt to GDP ratio is increasing, because not only is our debt increasing, but our GDP is decreasing (last time I checked, it was at $14.4 trillion dollars). That comes out to about a 69.4% debt to GDP ratio. I know that, although bad, it's not serious, as we still are making more money than we owe, but that ratio just keeps on increasing. It would be nice to see it go down, but what really gets to me is that not only has it not gone down, it's increased by over 75% with the current president. It's not just the current president, though - since World War II, both parties have increased the national debt. It's just that from 1946, Democrats have increased the national debt by 3.2% per year on average, while Republicans have increased it by 9.2% (based on information provided by Steve McGourty). And in the meantime, GDP has traditionally risen for Democrat presidents far more than Republican presidents (government spending under Clinton was increased by 9%, but government revenue increased by 35% in the same timeframe; meanwhile, spending under our current president has increased 25% but revenue has only increased 10%). I cannot fathom why people think that Republicans will cut the debt - the numbers just don't support it. And Democrats may actually spend money, but the money they spend tends to result in greater revenue. If the economy is your number one concern right now, you might want to go through the historical data yourself - it's pretty convincing.


Sammy Jankis said...

I'm a little uninformed, is the National Debt Clock a measure of how much individuals in the U.S. owe? Or of how much the government owes?

Brien Louque said...

My understanding is that it is the total amount of money the federal government owes, including savings bonds and legal obligations to pay Social Security or Medicaid that the federal government has borrowed against.