5 Reasons Our National Debt is So High

America's national debt is now over $15,000,000,000,000! That gets the point across better than just writing $15 trillion, as that's a lot of zeros! What is worse, it is scheduled to go higher by about $1 trillion per year. This is clearly unsustainable and will lead to a financial disaster in our country.

But why is the national debt so high?

1) Politicians have gotten away with the game of "musical chairs" for so long, they always think the financial disaster that awaits America will happen on someone else's watch. So members of both parties spend and spend without any real repercussions.

2) The American dollar, as the world's "reserve currency," interlinked with America's status as the world's military superpower, allows Washington to borrow more than it otherwise could. Our great republic still stands as a beacon of light to millions of people around the world, who, no matter how bad our fiscal and monetary policy seems to be, would rather hold U.S. dollars than their own currency. And who can blame them? Russian Rubles or U.S. Dollars? Egyptian pounds or U.S. Dollars? The list goes on.

3) American Politicians get away with 10-year plans in the news, but only pass one-year budgets. It gets even worse. The U.S. Senate has not even bothered to pass a budget since April 29th, 2009. So let me rephrase: politicians, spurred on by the media, keep coming up with 10-year plans and cuts over 10 years that are really just cuts in growth, not actual cuts. It used to be that our politicians used 10-year plans to make it look like the cuts in growth were 10 times as large as they really were, but for the last three years, they don't even bother passing the budget anyway.

4) "We the People" have not demanded any plan to actually balance the budget. So why would politicians introduce one? Even politicians, like Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who are proponents of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, have not presented a specific plan of what they would do to balance the U.S. budget!

5) Maybe one of the reasons that "We the People" have not demanded a balanced budget is that over 40% of Americans don't owe any income tax this year, so nearly a majority of us have no "skin in the game." There is nothing inherently wrong with this, everyone should and does try to pay as little as possible. They, like me, would rather have the extra money for their families, but if the government's massive spending doesn't cost you any more, you're less likely to care.

It seems, then, that we need to demand of our politicians that our President introduce a balanced budget and that the Congress pass a balanced budget every year. There are a number of things we could do: A) move toward demanding term limits for Congress (less incentive and time to do the wrong thing) B) only pay our national officials when they produce a balanced budget, C) pass a balanced budget amendment, and D) create a dramatically different tax system. Perhaps this could be a fair tax so when you consume, you participate, or alternatively a simplified, if not flat, income tax system that has some rate for everyone with no deductions. We can stop this runaway train of higher and higher national debt, but we must act now before the game of "musical chairs" ends, and ends badly.