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'The Titanic Is Headed to the Iceberg': Skyrocketing Debt Has US at a Crossroads

10-09-2018
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WASHINGTON – Federal borrowing is continuing to rise thanks to Congress passing legislation to suspend the debt ceiling. As a result, the national debt hit $21 trillion in March.

"I fear it might take another financial crisis before Congress acts, but then it might be too late," The Heritage Foundation's Stephen Moore told CBN News.

Moore, an economist and former adviser to the Trump campaign, says Washington is in the midst of a bipartisan spending spree.

"We've seen a rocketing of our debt, especially in the last 10 years where Obama took the debt from $10 to $20 trillion," he explained.

So, what's the solution?

"Here is the thing – the most important thing in controlling the debt is grow the economy and that's the advice I gave Donald Trump," Moore said.

Trump's chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, agrees.

"I don't think, by the way, there is any particular relationship between the debt and interest rates or deficits and rates," he said. "But I want to reduce the debt burden on the economy, so growth – you have debt, numerator, GDP denominator – get that GDP up."

The gross domestic product is the value of US goods and services used to examine the nation's overall economic health.

Kudlow recommends growing the economy to the max so that the government brings in more money to make the interest payments on the debt.

"The trick is get that ratio as low as possible. I don't think we're in a danger zone right now, but I would like to see it come down," he said.

Rising interest rates can be very expensive for Washington – and taxpayers.

The government paid out more than $450 billion in interest payments on the national debt in each of the last two years. If rates rise just a half a point or so, that could add another $70 billion to $100 billion or more to those payments every year.

And Moore points out that will add up over time.

"Every one percentage point increase in the interest rate increases the debt payments over a decade by a trillion dollars, so we are talking about really large numbers," he warned.

Moore says one way to slow down the skyrocketing debt is to reform programs like Social Security and Medicare – plus, delaying the retirement age because people are living longer.

"We've known for 30 years that the Titanic is headed to the iceberg in Social Security and Medicare," Moore told CBN News. "We know the American people are aging – I'm a baby boomer; there are 80 million of us."

"In the next 10-15 years, we are going to stop paying taxes and we are going to start collecting these government benefits. It's not going to work," he warned.

The bottom line: This is a long-running problem that neither party is addressing. In the meantime, the government will not face any limit on borrowing until March.

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