Essay about Us National Debt

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Pages: 16

The U.S. National Debt

The national debt is the total amount of money the United States Treasury Department has borrowed and currently owes to the federal government's creditors (Sylla). These creditors are mostly comprised of the public, including individuals, corporations, as well as state, local and foreign governments. They also consist of various government trust funds, such as Social Security and Medicare. Additionally, they include the Federal Reserve, mostly in the form of treasury bonds, bills and notes. Currently, the U.S. national debt is estimated to be $8.5 trillion (ZFacts). This ever-growing figure brings with it several social and economic implications. Therefore, the national debt is a frequently debated topic
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This growing trend has disturbed many Americans, causing the national debt to become a major national issue, especially during election years. This has prompted several attempts by the government to bring the national debt under control (Bureau). One of the first actions taken by Congress was the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, which tried to mandate a balanced budget. The main theme in this Act was a set of federal deficit targets for Congress and the President to meet over a six year time period. The federal deficit was to decrease each year until it reached zero in 1991. If Congress and the President could not agree on a budget that met the target in any given year, the automatic reductions would take over and reduce spending. Splitting reductions equally between defense and non defense expenditures would do this. This law was popular among legislatures because it reduced spending without forcing Congress to vote against popular programs. Ultimately, the Act of 1985 failed. As a result, a balanced budget never occurred (White House). Another piece of legislation passed by Congress was the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990. The main idea behind this act was combined spending caps with a "pay-as-you-go" provision in attempts to limit discretionary spending. Under this provision, reduction somewhere in the budget