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ROBERT L. MARONIC: Our National Debt Has Become A National Emergency

The biggest foe or problem facing the United States today is not Communist China, Putin’s Russia, nuclear war, climate change, or LGBTQ+ rights. It is our national debt, which reached a disgraceful $33 trillion on September 18, and is projected to be an unimaginable $50 trillion by 2030.

This is most dire news.

I can vividly remember when our national debt reached $30 trillion on February 1, 2022. This means that Washington added another $3 trillion to the debt in a mere nineteen months. I wonder what is going to happen during the next one and a half years?

The U.S. Treasury has a five-alarm fire on its hands, but the average American is oblivious to this fact, and presently cares more about college football, Netflix and the next holiday. This “disconnect” about our economic reality is similar to how Captain Edward Smith of the Titanic must have worried about icebergs the Sunday evening before his ship tragically and needlessly sank on April 15, 1912.

Let me just say that he was ‘concerned’ about icebergs but not overly worried.

“Record red ink,” “debt limit” and “fiscal responsibility” have become meaningless phrases to many members of Congress.

I especially feel sorry for the generation of middle class (< $142,000/year) and poor Americans born after the Baby Boomers (1946-64), who might experience the direct consequences of such generational selfishness and greed resulting from a unprecedented debt default. If Washington were to default on the national debt, these Americans most certainly will have a lower standard of living, undergo a tidal wave of evictions, foreclosures and bankruptcies, receive less Social Security, pay much higher taxes and interest rates, experience high unemployment, and go through a recession similar to 2008 – or likely far worse.

It has been recently estimated that “even a brief default would result in half a million lost jobs and a somewhat shallow recession. A protracted default would push those numbers to a devastating eight million lost jobs and a severe recession, with the economy shrinking by more than 6 percent.”

If Washington were to default on the national debt, the dollar will cease to be the world’s reserve currency making the consequences of such a catastrophic default much more severe for decades. That would especially be true of printing money in order to finance our deficit spending.

And Americans, especially their grandchildren, would finally learn the meaning of the word austerity the hard way.

A possible default makes me truly wonder if Congress either plans to indifferently inflate the dollar or nonchalantly default on the debt like another partial government shutdown?

Back when I taught high school Latin, I would occasionally compare the fall of the Roman Empire with the possible fall of the U.S. empire with over 700 military bases beyond our shores. We studied both the numerous internal and external reasons for Rome’s fall.

I occasionally told my students what especially worried me was when the generation of Americans, who experienced the true suffering of the Great Depression in the 1930s and the necessary hardship of World War II from 1941-45 were dead and gone, another Depression might occur similar to 1929 because of American hubris and aversion to history.

It must be remembered that the U.S. was the direct cause of the two greatest economic calamities in the last century: the Great Recession of 2008 and Great Depression of 1929. This is one reason in my opinion why we do not have a lot of true friends outside of the U.S. except for Thailand, Australia, Israel and Britain.

It must be remembered that what happened after the stock market crash of 1929 was the quick rise of fascism in Hideki Tojo’s Japan and Adolf Hitler’s Germany resulting in World War II from September 1, 1939 until September 2, 1945. This war conservatively caused the deaths of 15,000,000 million soldiers and 45,000,000 million civilians.

World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history. I shudder to think what the death toll might be for both soldiers and civilians after World War III?

It must be remembered that the far left in the U.S. wants to wreck our “capitalistic” ship of state, and replace our mixed economy with a failed socialist planned economy.

It must be remembered that the American economic ship of state is carrying much more than 334,000,000 Americans. It is, in fact,  also carrying much of the western world, and they are looking at us for leadership, which is abysmally lacking in Biden’s White House.

Both the Democrats and Republicans in Congress are equally to blame for a possible economic disaster. Since the U.S. became $33 trillion in debt on September 18, this has given me serious pause. The projections for 2027 and 2030 give me increasing despair.

My Aunt Mary once told me how in 1938, my teenage father once had a part-time Saturday job at a butcher shop in Steelton, Pennsylvania chopping off the rotten discolored parts of beef, chicken, lamb and pork, and then throwing them into an iced galvanized steel bucket. When he was done at 1 p.m. the butcher would let him take the covered bucket home. Aunt Mary told me that this was their family of four’s supply of meat for the week.

And they were the lucky ones in the neighborhood.

Let us hope that the next Great Depression never gets that bad.

  • Robert L. Maronic

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