America’s debt good only for creditors

Among America’s creditors, 2016 promises to be a good new year indeed. Our national debt will top $19 trillion sometime during the year.

For those to whom we owe money, the fact we continue to build up debt rather than paying it down is delightful. This year alone, we paid our creditors about $218 billion just in interest on the money they have loaned us.

How much is that?

Consider that $218 billion is more than the federal government spent this year on food and nutritional assistance, higher education and unemployment benefits combined.

But our enormous national debt – more than $58,000 each for every man, woman and child in the United States – is detrimental in other ways.

It has an inflationary effect, making our money worth less with every passing day. It drives up interest rates everywhere, meaning we pay more to borrow money because of our Uncle Sam’s debt addiction. It hampers job creation. It gives other nations to which we owe large sums leverage against us both economically and diplomatically.

And, of course, there is the matter of paying all that money back – if we ever get around to it. This generation of American adults will not.

Our children and grandchildren, then, are the ultimate victims of our government’s failure to control spending.

Far from making a dent in the national debt, Washington – and that includes both Democrats and Republicans – continues to send it higher, in order to fund ever-larger, more expensive government.

One good example is the budget agreement to which conservatives in Congress and President Barack Obama came to earlier this month. It adds billions of dollars in subsidies for “green” energy – solar and wind power that cannot exist without massive help from Washington.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? No. Until and unless a president eager to control spending rather than expand it and a Congress willing to make the tough decisions are available, the debt will continue to rise.

Happy New Year? Yes, if Uncle Sam owes you money.