A nation of debt

As the nations debt toll continues to rise as it has been since the Bush administration, we await a much-needed change in our current federal spending habits. According to usdebtclock.org, as of now, the United States National debt is at $16.5 trillion and rising. The debt can be blamed on a plethora of problems, ranging from the war on terrorism to the war on drugs, but the debt is really at fault of our government’s irresponsible spending.

Since the First World War, the United States has taken the role of a world police officer, becoming involved in numerous problems that did not require American involvement. Subsequently, the total annual federal spending has increased form less than 10% of the gross domestic product (Or GDP: The monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s boarders in a specific time) before World War I, to a little less than 40% of the GDP in 2012. During that time period, the value of the U.S. dollar has dropped significantly, from being worth ~1510mg in gold at the beginning of the 20th century to a measly ~19mg as of January 2013, which is roughly a 7950% decrease. A 1900 U.S. dollar is worth nearly 80 2013 U.S. dollars. Believe it or not, those numbers are somewhat normal, as the 2013 Euro is worth only 6mg more in gold than the 2013 U.S. dollar. What this tells us is that inflation is not the problem, the problem is that our government is spending money that it doesn’t have on things that are so far doing nothing to help the country

So, as it is established that the amount we are spending and what the money is being spent on is the problem, a new question arises: how do we cut down the spending while maintaining a safe, stable country that abides by all of the laws and values that our forefathers set out for us? The answer, although seems difficult and complicated, has actually been right under our noses the entire time. Before World War I, the United States followed a strict isolationist policy, which means that the country isolated itself from outside conflict. The economy then was level, not great, but not bad. The federal deficit also did not start spiking until just before 1920, which is just the time the United States joined the war. Since then, the deficit has continued to spike as Americans have continued to involve itself in outside conflict. Going back to this isolationist policy would give the economy time to recover, as well as time to re-think the role of the United States.

Lastly, and most importantly, is the issue of what we are spending the money on currently. The amount of money our government has spent over the past decade is inconceivably high, and that number only continues to rise. The department of defense alone has $525.4 billion in discretionary spending for 2013, which is by far the largest amount of money given to any government department, but the Department of Education only received $69.8 billion in discretionary spending for 2013, and as Americans are falling farther and farther behind the world in test scores, a change must be made. The government has to prioritize the needs of the people of the United States before it handles the needs of the world. An isolationist policy would free up hundreds of billions of dollars, which would open the door for a greater funding of education and the betterment of the nation. The government of today has put the next few generations in jeopardy with the debt, and if there are not any well-educated people in the government of the future, then the United States could face unimaginable consequences.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Parkway School District.