Hey, Nancy Pelosi: ‘National Debt Should Be a Top Priority’
Ahead of the annual congressional scramble to piece together a federal budget—a process that will begin in earnest after President Joe Biden’s state of the union address next week—a bipartisan group of lawmakers are asking a question that’s rarely part of the proceedings these days.
How are we actually going to pay for all this?
In a letter sent on Tuesday, 24 members of the House of Representatives called on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) to take some small but important steps to rein in America’s out-of-control national debt. The letter highlights the fact that policies enacted during the past five years—including pandemic relief, but also “Congress’ perennially broken budget process and fiscal policies”—have added $13 trillion to the projected levels of debt in 2031, at the end of the 10-year window Congress uses for budgeting.
“It has been over a decade since Congress enacted any legislation that significantly addressed these longstanding structural problems or improved the nation’s fiscal outlook,” the lawmakers wrote to Pelosi. “Our national debt should be a top priority for both parties and addressed on a bipartisan basis.”
Yes, the letter represents the view of just 24 of the House’s 435 members. Still, any discussion of the debt and the need to address it is welcome.
America’s national debt cracked the $30 trillion mark earlier this month, and projections show that it will continue to grow (both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the size of the economy) for the foreseeable future. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now forecasts that the debt will be twice the size of the economy by 2051, while the Government Accountability Office (GAO) predicts that the debt will grow to four times the size of America’s economy before the end of the century. Those projections do not account for the effects of future recessions, pandemics, wars, or other costly and unexpected problems.
“U.S. fiscal policy today is not sustainable,” argue Veronique de Rugy and Jack Salmon, researchers at the Mercatus Center, a free market think
Article from Reason.com