avatarAshley St. Claire


U.S. National Debt: A serious threat to National Security?

What is the national debt?

The national debt ($34.44 T) is the total amount of outstanding borrowing by the U.S. Federal Government accumulated over the nation’s history.

$34,440,831,955,756 U.S. dollars

According to Council on Foreign Relations, today, the national debt is almost the same size as the entire U.S. economy, and the debt is on track to double within the next thirty years. Some economists say that could expose the country to a number of dangers, including a budget crisis, rising interest rates, greater economic instability, and a diminished global leadership role.

Melissa S. Kearney and Rob Portman add, as national security issues are becoming more challenging, over the next decade the U.S. is expected to spend more on interest payments on our debt than the entire $9.8 trillion projected to be spent on our national defense. We need to get the deficit under control so that we have the funds available to invest in our future and protect our national security interests.

Opinions vary as to the enormous U.S. national debt constituting the most serious national security problem. Regardless, it is clear, that the national debt has serious economic, security and political implications.

Carlo J.V. Caro writes, like the Depression, a debt default would entail an economic shock that could trigger a deep recession, with far-reaching effects on the economy, government spending, and by extension, military readiness. This could potentially disadvantage the U.S. in any escalating conflict with a well-resourced and technologically advanced military power like China.

An article by Peter G. Peterson Foundation, titled “The Implications of a US Debt Default on National Security” states, our fiscal security is also closely linked to our national security and ability to maintain a leading role in the world. As Admiral Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, put it: “The most significant threat to our national security is our debt.” As the national debt grows, we are more beholden to creditors around the globe and have fewer resources to invest in strength at home.

While the impact of the national debt on the U.S. economy is clear, the unwillingness of elected officials to institute an equitable tax increases to bringing down the deficit without hurting low and moderate-income families is sad. But, the political challenges they face is clear.

By no means, tax increases are the only solution to the debt problem. We know that increased government spending, stimulus programs and tax cuts account for the rise in the national debt, therefore, it might not be a bad place to start.

Ashley St. Claire

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