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Politicians continue to put their interests first in ignoring looming consequences to the massive and growing U.S. national debt, and politicians are ignoring it, experts on the economy said at a recent forum.
“We are facing the largest, most predictable crisis in U.S. history, and almost nobody is talking about it,” warned Romina Boccia, deputy director of economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation.
Leadership - Boccia
“We need bold leadership,” Boccia said.
“The numbers are really terrifying,” Brian M. Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, said of the mounting debt that is nearing $20 trillion, adding:
Dollars - Congressional - Budget - Office - Years
If you just look at nominal dollars, [as the Congressional Budget Office] sets it, in the next 30 years, the national debt will go from $20 trillion to $92 trillion. That’s the rosy scenario. That assumes no wars, no terrorist attacks, no recessions, and that interest rates stay low.
Boccia and Riedl spoke during a panel discussion, “U.S. Debt: Causes, Costs, and Consequences,” held July 12 at The Heritage Foundation in Washington.
Panel - Michael - Tanner - Fellow - Cato
Also on the panel were Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, and David Barnes, policy director for Generation Opportunity.
Panelists pointed to an aging population and political expediency as the two biggest reasons for the out-of-control spending driving the debt increases.
Barnes - Lawmakers - Incentive - Strategies - Re-election
Barnes said lawmakers lack the incentive to prioritize long-term strategies over short-term re-election concerns.
“As long as we, the people, don’t hold [lawmakers] accountable, we’re never going to get out of this problem, because we prefer to get something today and put off tough decisions,” he said.
Tanner - Riedl - Votes - Congress - Consequence
Both Tanner and Riedl said that many short-term votes by Congress are a consequence of the electorate’s aging demographics. Politicians are rewarded for protecting entitlement programs, they suggested.
“When I look at the debt, I look at the fact that we are spending more than we take in,” Riedl said. “The reason...
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