Free Minds & Free Markets

$20,000,000,000,000 in Debt and Rising

Now that Trump’s made a deal with Democrats, our national debt is higher than ever.

The deal to raise the debt ceiling bumped what Washington has borrowed to more than $20 trillion.

Democrats and most Republicans got spending they wanted, plus suspension of the debt limit. Trump got the hurricane Harvey relief spending that he wanted.

But this is a bad deal for us taxpayers and everyone's children. Our debt now exceeds the value of everything that America produces in a year. Soon, warns economist Ed Stringham, we'll be like Greece; forced to make sudden cuts because we cannot borrow more to finance our spending addiction.

John Stossel fears the U.S. government will then just print more money. That's what countries like Venezuela and Zimbabwe have done. That didn't work out well.

Let's avoid that fate. Cut spending, now!

Actually, the federal government could avoid a crisis if it just reduced future spending increases to the rate of inflation. But the big spenders won't even do that.

Produced by Maxim Lott. Edited by Naomi Brockwell.

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  • Juice||


    THE national debt. Or really call it government debt.

    Please don't call it "our" debt.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    He should, we should emphasize that ultimately it is our skin in the game here.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You signed that social contract at birth.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    As the democrats consecrate the bond of obedience.

  • Uncle Jay||

    I knew I should've consulted my attorney before signing the damn thing.

  • Agammamon||

    Why not? It is your debt. Sure, you didn't willingly take it on. Sure you've pushed for spending controls.

    None of that matters. You're paying for it in devalued savings whether you like it or not.

  • CE||

    If it's my debt, I recommend default.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Have I mentioned I like Stossel?

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    We can tell.

    {politely averts gaze}

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    I DO like Stossel, you eth-soc twat. I just also happen to like making dick jokes when the opportunity {puts on sunglasses} arises.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Pretty soon we'll be talkin real money.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Except, as the Reason TV Cosmos parody said, this represents more than all the real (physical) money.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Check out the union rules that protected this teacher. Who do they think they are? Cops?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Well, who do you think taught the cops?

  • Don't look at me.||

    How do you know if it will be bad if you don't know what the bad is.

  • Eric Bana||

    It'll probably be good.

  • Cy||

    The boomers don't care! They'll be mostly dead when the check hits the table.

  • Don't look at me.||

    You can't be mostly dead, you are dead or you aren't.
    Oh, you meant most of them will be dead.

  • ||

    You can't be mostly dead

    Whee, look who knows so much

  • Wasteland Wanderer||


  • ||

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    The chocolate coating makes the thought of $20 trillion in debt go down easier.

  • Agammamon||

    You know the difference between mostly dead and dead is? Mostly dead is slightly alive.

  • mpercy||

    To blave.

  • Schizoidman_21||

    if they're completely dead all that's left is to go through their pockets for loose change.

  • lap83||

    Now that Trump's made a deal with Democrats

    .....liberals will stop blaming everything that goes wrong on austerity? haha, jk

  • Cy||

    Is this why RUSSIAGATE disappeared over night? Because their tribe got some positive attention?

  • SIV||

    SCOTUS reinstating the travel ban* on refugees isn't getting much news play.


  • Cy||

    Hyper inflation HERE WE COME!

  • Don't look at me.||

    What's the big deal? It's mostly zeros.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Am I the only one who noticed the zeros going off the edge of the margins on the main page? I suspect we are being propagandized.

  • Rich||

    If I pay the Treasury $61,500 ($20T / U.S. pop.) am I off the hook?

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Well, as long as you don't structure your payments in a manner that might indicate an attempt to conceal them from federal regulators and can prove that the funds are not the result of illegal activity, then, yeah.

  • Jonny Scrum-half||

    Cutting taxes will never reduce the size of government. And no one will cut spending until taxes are high enough that people agree to cut spending. So, if you're serious about reducing government spending, you should be in favor of increasing taxes. As long as we continue to borrow rather than pay as we go, nothing will be done to reduce the size of government.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Given that every single tax increase has been accompanied by an even bigger spending increase, I'll disagree.

    And nations that have turned back from the fiscal brink, like some of our Scandinavian friends, did so by cutting 5 or 6 dollars for every tax dollar increase.

  • RG||

    Can we toss debt denialists in prison?

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    Can't. The prisons are full of climate change deniers

  • loveconstitution1789||

    ...and hate speakers. There is no right to "hate" speech people!

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I don't 'hate' speech. I 'love' it. In fact I rarely shut up.

  • CE||

    Talking about the national debt is hate speech.

  • John40||

    Those is Congress are nothing more than a group of elected gangsters. Power, control and of course the money that goes with these are their main concerns.

  • CE||

    The US govt debt = 20.17 trillion USD
    US GDP = 18.57 trillion USD, but that includes:
    4.15 trillion USD in government spending

    Subtracting the govt spending from the GDP gives 14.42 trillion USD in wealth generated per year
    But 4.15 trillion of that is spent by the government,
    leaving 10.27 trillion USD in available wealth generated per year, meaning,

    it would take 2 years to pay off the US govt debt, if every free dollar generated was dedicated to that task.

  • JFree||

    John Stossel fears the U.S. government will then just print more money. That's what countries like Venezuela and Zimbabwe have done. That didn't work out well.

    Nor will it happen here. Hyperinflation first requires repudiation of the existing debt. The US ain't likely to do that. So the US scenario is Japan - multiple generations of stagnation as the younger generations are sacrificed to the old debt servicing.

  • tombstone||

    Politicians do it for the sake of getting votes and not looking "mean spirited". A few years ago, my Congresspersons office called me to discuss what really matters to me, and I said "The national debt. What do you intend to do to address this?". Haven't gotten a call back since then. And she is a Republican.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: $20,000,000,000,000 in Debt and Rising
    Now that Trump's made a deal with Democrats, our national debt is higher than ever.

    If the debt is not ended, then everything the politicians do will be rrelevant because the USA will end up like the USSR in the early 1990's.

  • ||

    It's not true! Obama slowed down spending!!!

    I find Greece a bit of a bad analogy. The U.S., if it would be moved, has the economy and ability to pay off its debt - pretty fast too I reckon. I always get the feeling the United States knows that it could and so it just plays this game.

  • blondrealist||

    Greece is indeed a bad analogy - mainly because since it joined the Euro system, it became a currency user. The USA is a currency issuer - at least as far as the federal government is concerned. Our States, on the other hand, are currency users. Illinois has let its credit rating deteriorate and while it is continuing to issue more debt - it is becoming more like Greece because it cannot create additional currency at will like the federal government. Illinois would be in much deeper trouble if not for the normal federal transfers that happen every day in the USA - things like Social Security retirement income, federal transportation spending, and, of course, the normal money coming from other states - the sort of flow that goes back and forth every day.

  • PG23COLO||

    Stossel missed some recent history- Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke "printed" at his keyboard more than 4 trillion dollars in the name of "quantitative easing," when he created that much new money to buy corporate and government bonds, in order to "stimulate the economy" (meaning: he gave it to the big banks).

    The government taxes (steals) as much money as it can, prints more when needed, and has default as its fall-back option. There is nothing behind government-created money, other than the good will and incredible naivete of those who use it. Congress and the President believe in the government fairy, a mythical creature which creates money at the whim of politicians. Some day, it will all come crashing down.

  • Charles Barr||

    The fix is simple: STOP ISSUING DEBT-BASED MONEY! From a conservative or libertarian perspective, pure or "unbacked" fiat money is much less destructive to the economy and to personal liberty than the "debt-backed" fiat money we use today. Debt-free money does not saddle future generations with unchosen obligations, and
    actually poses a lower risk of hyperinflation and economic collapse than debt-based money. See .

  • blondrealist||

    Hyperinflation is indeed the risk in our monetary system, but in the history of hyperinflations (since 1900), there has always been some other severe exogenous event besides high government debt. The events were things like losing a war, ceding monetary sovereignty via foreign denominated debt or a pegged currency, a collapse in production, or massive government corruption.

    Also, it's important to remember that the majority of "new" money in our system is created by the private sector - not the federal government. When banks make loans, those loans create deposits. Banks are capital constrained, not reserve constrained, when it comes to making loans. It's astounding how many "experts" and politicians have griped about banks sitting on record levels of reserves rather than lending them out to businesses and people. I say this because banks never lend reserves - except to other banks.

    We live in a credit based system. If one expects the economy to grow over time, then the aggregate level of debt will also grow. Of course, problems can and do occur. Borrowing money for speculative uses poses more risks and borrowing money to spend on things that are not very productive in our economy also does not help much. As somebody who leans Libertarian on many issues, I find it easy to agree that a lot of federal spending (and therefore borrowing) is not very productive - a lot of that spending would produce better results if turned over to the private sector.

  • Rockabilly||

    Just put it on my VISA, "Uncle 'Fucking' Sam."

    Now I'm going to spend more on some shit I don't need, some shit I don't even know what it's for, and then order some cocaine and ladies for my pals.

    Shit, I can't even take account of anything. All the paper is all over the place and what the heck are they (put in anyone you want, I could care less, I'm Uncle Fucking Sam, top fucking dog of the World!) going to do?

    I'm Uncle Fucking Sam and I fucking do what I want.

  • ||

    If enough people demand the debt be addressed, it will be, at least in the MSM propaganda. The spending will be contained and debt decreased when the economy crashes for the last time. The dollar will be replaced with new fiat and it will be just like Zimbabwe, Argentina, ect. The only way to avoid a crisis is to stop the crisis machine, destroy the supersitiion that fuels the destruction. That takes a substantial paradigm change. It could happen if voluntaryists were influencial enough. They are not. And they won't be listened to until after the crash. Then it will get worse (politically) in some parts, and better in some parts. But will a paradigm change occur? If not, it will not happen here. It would be time to leave while you can.

  • dickt-c-s||

    If Congress & the President enacted a law to stop borrowing today, and if we began to pay off the national debt at the rate of $1/second, it would take over 633,000 years to pay it off. That's almost 2/3 of a million years. IT'S TIME TO STOP BORROWING NOW!

  • Agen Judi||

    you didn't willingly take it on. Sure you've pushed for spending controls. Agen Sbobet

  • blondrealist||

    The comparison to Greece reveals a poor understanding of how different our currency system is from Greece's system (currently). If economist Ed Stringham teaches any economics classes - then I would urge his students to give their professor an "F". Greece is a currency user, the USA is a currency issuer. Greece cannot inflate its way out of its situation because it has no control over the Euro.

    Stossel at least hints at the true risk for the USA - and it is inflation. Having said that, I urge Stossel and his friends to learn more about the other severe, exogenous events that occurred in each modern (since 1900) hyperinflation event. It was never just high government debt - there was always some other problem, like losing a war, ceding monetary sovereignty via foreign denominated debt or a pegged currency, or a collapse in production.

    Finally - why just report on the size of the federal debt - and ignore the other side of the balance sheet?


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