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The National Debt: How serious a problem and do we need to address it now?
The National Debt has continued to be a significant subject of domestic controversy, especially in view of the magnitude of fiscal stimulus undertaken by Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump.
Generally, economists agree that:
* Rent control is bad
* Tariffs are bad
* High minimum wages are bad
* Wealth taxes are bad, and
* Too much debt is bad
Actually, everybody knows that too much debt is bad, but does the United States have too much debt now? Many believe that the U.S. debt is growing at an unsustainable rate, and that if debt holders grow pessimistic and stop buying U.S. securities, a debt crisis would ensure, shackling many Americans to a poorer quality of life in the years to come.
The national debt currently stands at $23.2 trillion (December 31, 2019), and this is the highest level ever. Federal debt held by the public accounts for $17 trillion and this is the more useful debt number because the government has to pay this back to people and corporations and countries that own U.S. treasury bills, notes, and bonds. That’s how it got into debt in the first place, by selling securities to the public.
The other $6 trillion of the national debt are loans between government departments. One of these is social security which is owed billions by the federal budget for monies received over time to finance government spending. The federal budget has to pay this back as well, especially as the demands on social security rise and the department must deliver retirement benefits.
Since 2017 when Trump entered the White House, the debt has increased by $2.7 trillion.
During the Obama administration, debt rose $8.2 trillion. During Bush, debt jumped $6.4 trillion, and Clinton: $1.4 trillion.
About the Economist / Speaker
Dr. Mark Schneipp, Ph.D
Dr. Schniepp is Director of the California Economic Forecast in Santa Barbara. The company prepares forecasts and commentary on the regional economies of California.
He prepares economic analysis and regional forecasts for Caltrans, Kaiser Permanente, Exxon Mobil, and the Southern California Association of Governments.
Dr. Schniepp develops regional real estate and economic forecast publications and presents the findings at large public conferences in Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, and the Santa Clarita Valley.
Dr. Schniepp participates with the UCLA Anderson Forecast in the preparation of the annual Orange County Economic Forecast and the San Diego County Economic Forecast, which are held in the spring of each year.
He presents updated U.S, and California economic and demographic information to a number of organizations at over 25 conferences throughout the year.
Dr. Schniepp served as senior economist to Kathleen Connell, the California State Controller from 1999 to 2003.
Dr. Schniepp served as Director of the Economic Forecast Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, between 1985 and 2000.
As a past faculty member in the Department of Economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he taught intermediate microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, applied regional modeling, applied econometrics, and forecasting, from 1982 to 1991.
Dr Schniepp received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1985. His fields of research for the degree were econometrics, regional economics, and natural resource economics.