Large national debt means austerity measures were coming


The belt was going to have to tighten sometime, and austerity measures will happen in the U.S. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The national debt for the United States is approaching $14 trillion and climbing. Estimates indicate that it could exceed the total gross domestic product of the nation if unchecked. Austerity measures, like those in France and Greece, are assured to happen.

National debt must be reduced

The President appointed a debt panel not too long ago, and large cuts were part of their recommendations. The debt panel’s recommendations went up for a vote on Friday, Dec. 3, needing 14 of 18 votes to get the recommendations sent to Congress. Only 11 of 18 voted for it, according to CNN. Among the recommendations is to drastically overhaul the tax code, and reign in a lot of spending that will hit some people where it hurts. For instance, a lot of tax cuts will be eliminated, but rates will be lowered. Social Security and how many retirees subside would face cuts. Recipients of Medicare may be asked to shoulder some of the burden for health care. The idea is to start serious reductions of the budget deficit and federal debt by 2015, which means austerity measures are coming.

Austerity measures are all the rage

If the United States starts implementing these reforms, it will be part of a global trend. France, Spain, Greece and Great Britain have all instituted austerity measures, which led to Greek riots and the French strikes. These measures are never popular with citizens, but there is a basic truth which has to be accepted by a lot of people: governments rely on tax revenue, and recessions mean less revenue. Therefore, spending cuts have to be made.

Fundamental assessments

Americans (or at least a lot of us) hate paying taxes. However, we also take many government benefits for granted, like Social Security and public education. Either the level of services has to be reduced, or Americans need to get used to the idea of perhaps paying more in taxes to enjoy those benefits. Compared with almost every other industrial nation on earth, Americans pay some of the least in taxes. Perhaps it’s time to stop whining.



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