Addicted to debt ...
On more than one occasion— the most recent on Dec. 12 — we have lamented the alarming state of this nation’s federal debt. But it is a topic that bears repeating often because of the baffling tendency to ignore it.
The occasion to comment is the $600 stimulus checks that are being distributed by the federal government in yet another fiscal response to the coronavirus situation.
Certainly, few people are going to argue with this latest gift from Washington — some of it needed by people in desperate straits — and sending a few checks back in protest is hardly going to make any kind of difference.
We do not know what 2021 will hold in terms of additional stimulus money. But this is not sustainable unless there is a new relationship among interest payments, ballooning debt and money supply that we don’t understand.
Today, that debt totals $27.5 trillion and rises by roughly $2.5 million every minute. Here are some other alarming numbers to know:
• from the time of the country’s founding in the 18th century to 1980 the debt reached $908 billion.
• from 1980-1990 the figure increased from $908 billion to $3.23 trillion.
• from 1990-2000 the debt went from $3.23 trillion to $5.67 trillion.
• since 2000 the figure has increased from $5.67 trillion to $27.5 trillion, doubling in the last decade.
How can this trajectory possibly continue without consequences?