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November 07. 2012 3:17AM

What now? Deal with the debt

The federal debt rose by $4.9 trillion during the two terms of President George W. Bush. It has already risen by more than $5 trillion under President Obama. At $16.2 trillion today, it is about 71 percent of gross domestic product. That cannot continue.

President Bush's excuses were war and Medicare. President Obama's excuses were the recession and the slow recovery. The time for excuses is over; the time to get the debt under control is now.

Two years ago the Congressional Budget Office warned that "growing budget deficits will cause debt to rise to unsupportable levels. Although deficits during or shortly after a recession generally hasten economic recovery, persistent deficits and continually mounting debt would have several negative economic consequences for the United States."

Among those negative consequences: As more money is sucked from the economy to finance the borrowing, economic growth would slow, and "rising debt would increasingly restrict the ability of policymakers to use fiscal policy to respond to unexpected challenges, such as economic downturns or international crises."

The warning was ignored. If such warnings continue to be ignored, we will be forced into another economic downturn by the sheer weight of our debt alone.

Let's get our spending under control so that doesn't happen.


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