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The Ideological Battle Behind the U.S. Debt Crisis

The Ideological Battle Behind the U.S. Debt Crisis

The U.S. national debt is at 34.7 trillion dollars. If you laid that many dollar bills end-to-end, it would wrap around the Earth 134,599 times. That’s enough to travel to the sun and back 17 times. Suffice it to say, we’re in a pickle.

America is slowly approaching the precipice of debt default. This is no minor dilemma. A default could cause approximately 8 million jobs to be lost. In other words, the bill would come due.

For many politicians, the debt crisis is not a pressing concern. At least not enough to take measures to fix it. The Biden administration passed a 1.2 trillion-dollar infrastructure bill in 2021, adding 256 billion dollars to the budget deficit over the next ten years. Biden has also forgiven 167 billion dollars in student loans during his tenure, which was financed through increased government spending. Despite already being one of the most indebted countries in the world, politicians continue to dig the U.S. into an even deeper hole. The problem is not simply a monetary one. There is an ideological battle underlying our descent into debt.

The ideas that have caused America’s current debt crisis were birthed during the Great Depression. In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a series of spending measures that were intended to stimulate economic activity in what was called the “New Deal.” FDR spent over 950 billion (inflation-adjusted) dollars on the program while being touted as an economic “savior.” The deal was promoted as what released America from the bonds of the recession. In reality, it made the problem worse.

A study conducted by two UCLA economists found that the New Deal actually extended the Great Depression by seven years. By artificially increasing wages while unemployment remained rampant and below projected recovery rates, FDR’s program harmed economic health. Simply pumping money into the economy wasn’t the fix-all solution it was advertised to be.

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