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Total national debt now stands above $18 trillion, more than the gross domestic product. The large federal debt poses significant risks for our economy, threatening slower economic growth, less ability to respond to unforeseen needs, a federal budget squeezed to fund other priorities, and possibly financial crisis.
Deficits have declined in recent years and will continue to do so for a few more, but within the next several years they will resume their upward climb and reach $1 trillion within a decade. Driving this is out-of-control federal spending, expected to grow 69 percent by 2023.
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are unsustainable – combined with interest on the debt, there will be no federal revenue left to pay for anything else by mid-century.
Serious budget reform is vital if our nation is to avoid financial collapse, as happened in Greece because of their profligate and unsustainable spending practices. To avoid this outcome, lawmakers need to evaluate every spending program and determine if it is a core function of the federal government or whether it should be left to the private sector. As many responsibilities as possible should be returned to local control and funding, privatization should be considered wherever possible, and programs that are ineffective, wasteful, or redundant should be eliminated.
Pro-growth economic policies should also be pursued – a strong and vibrant economy solves many budget problems, or at least makes them easier to address. Tax hikes should not be considered because of their negative impact on economic growth.
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