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Debt is not a new problem for our government

Rush is a sophomore magazines major and can be contacted at kylie.rush@drake.edu

Since it was founded in 1776, the United States has had public debt. During the Revolutionary War the U.S. incurred $75 billion in debt. After the War of 1812 there was a sharp increase in debt that included 18 surpluses, but in the following 20 years 99.97 percent of the debt was paid off. That is the difference between then and today.

Although we continued to accumulate debt every year, our government paid off a majority of that debt in a reasonable amount of time. Since World War II, however, when the debt rose by 100 percent, we’ve been gradually sinking in our debt. Each year since that war, the public debt has increased almost as much as inflation. It even tripled in size between 1950 and 1980 when it climbed to $909 billion. Between 1980 and 1992, during the Reagan and Bush administrations, the debt had quadrupled. The debt rose 50 percent in the 1990s, and during the George W. Bush era it rose from $5.7 trillion to $10.7 trillion. President Barack Obama has expanded the debt even more, taking it from $10.7 trillion to $14.2 trillion as of February 2011.

In the upcoming 2012 election we need to keep all of this in mind. I believe one of our main priorities in voting in this upcoming election has to be the debt. Critics say that the United States is on the verge of bankruptcy if we don’t do something about the debt soon. I don’t necessarily believe that the government will collapse anytime soon, but I do believe that there will be some serious consequences for our nation.

I urge everyone to become informed about all of the candidates in this election to make the best decision about the debt. Each candidate holds a different opinion on the debt crisis and how to fix it, and it’s up to us to decide which will work the best. Some candidates, such as Newt Gingrich, think the U.S. must “quit spending beyond its means.” These candidates have a broad view on the subject. I trust the more intricate plans and would like to see more of them. Gingrich’s broad approach to the debt makes me think that he either doesn’t know how to fix it or he doesn’t care. That is not the type of president I would like to run our nation.

I hold a little more trust in candidates that come out with plans on decreasing the debt. It shows me that they have confidence in their plans and that they’ve actually thought about how to fix the problem. Herman Cain and his 5-point plan have a distinct plan to decrease the federal debt. Roger Gary is another candidate that has a solid plan for turning around our debt. His plan doesn’t sound as good to me as Cain’s does, but at least I know he has put some thought into how to fix the problem. Some candidates, like Tom Miller, have a plan for the debt, but the lack of experience in government will be a hindrance to their presidential aspirations.

Although Obama appears to have a plan for the national debt, he has only shown us in the last three years that he can increase the debt. I feel that we can’t keep banking on the chance that it will change. I know he came into office with the debt already befalling the nation, but he hasn’t shown us that he can fix the problem.


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1 Comment

  1. richard olden August 26, 2011

    you must get your facts right. The total debt after the revolutionary War was 75 million, not 76 billion.

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