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Debt Theater


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It’s debt ceiling season again in Washington, but does the national debt even matter?

Whether you are a Republican lawmaker or a progressive advocate of modern monetary theory, the answer is apparently the same: no, the national debt does not matter. On the latest episode of the Drill Down podcast, hosts Peter Schweizer and Eric Eggers are joined by Jason Chaffetz, former Congressman from Utah and current fellow at the Government Accountability Institute, to explore troubling implications of the colossal, and growing, national debt.

At present, America’s national debt registers at roughly $28 trillion and shows no sign of slowing down. All nations borrow money to some degree, but only in the United States is debt-financing a political football that routinely puts the country at risk of default. Amidst a backdrop of Republican tax cuts and bipartisan spending sprees are the now-familiar staged fights over raising the debt ceiling.

With some estimates showing the national debt swelling to double the size of the GDP by 2051, the time for robust solutions is now. Some proposals are ones we’ve heard before, such as tax cuts and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution; others suggest that cuts and amendments aren’t enough and advocate raising taxes. But given how low Federal interest rates have been, the incentives for lawmakers to formulate any solution are outweighed by the allure of easy access to capital.

If lawmakers don’t abandon the choreographed brinksmanship soon and begin making tough choices, the national debt could propel us into a truly horrifying future.