Overall, we've have had a very good quality of life in this country for 6 to 7 decades now. And, I think we all take this for granted to varying degrees. If we don't address our national debt effectively soon, the wonderful quality of life we enjoy in this country will be lost. If people can understand a few important concepts related to this crisis, I think we can begin to do what we are able to do so well in this country of ours, work together to address the underlying problems and heal the situation.
At the end of December 2011, the Treasury Department spent $148 billion dollars of our tax revenue on our national debt. And that was ONLY an interest payment! To put it in perspective, NASA cost $4 billion dollars. The Department of Education cost $17 billion dollars. And the Department of Transportation was $21 billion dollars.
Our national debt is 15.5 trillion dollars. Our total revenue annually is only 2.57 trillion dollars. There is no word or phrase that begins to describe just how disgusting this situation is!
Total government spending a year is 3.83 trillion dollars. The difference between 3.83 and 2.57 trillion dollars is 1.27 trillion dollars. So, on top of everything else, we have a budget deficit of 1.27 trillion dollars for the year!
In the early 80s our national debt was about 3 trillion dollars. We had about 250 million people in the country. At the time, I calculated how much this would be per person. It was $12,000 per person. Now, we are at about 310 million people. It's now $50,000 per person. And every year we don't balance the budget and/or don't pay down the principal on the national debt, that amount goes up, significantly. Note that the national debt is not allocated across people this way. But, I think this view helps you to easily understand it.
I've been voting since the age of 18. It is such a wonderful privilege. Not everyone in the world is able to influence how their government is run. Unfortunately, most of the candidates we can vote for today seem to care about their political power and wealth more than getting our precious country on a solid and healthy track.
I think it's counterproductive to point fingers at who might be more to blame for how we got here. I also believe that each of us needs to take some responsibility for where we are right now. What matters now is to address this effectively NOW. If we don't, the price will be the quality of our future.
We need to take drastic action on a number of fronts. Here's MY six suggestions.
Note: This site contains the detail for a lot of the data I used here: