Essay by:
Amy Niehues
Emporia State University

 The United States has built up a tremendous amount of debt.  Many American citizens do not understand why there is such a large debt or where it came from.  Furthermore, they do not understand the harm it will cause to future generations.  The citizens of America need to recognize the increasing problem of national debt and take action now.    

Americans have all been warned to use credit wisely.  When using a credit card for example, it is wise to pay off the bill as soon as possible so the interest does not add up.  A person who charged $1,000 at six percent interest would owe $1,060.  The next month rolls around and the bill is neglected so the person now owes $1123.60.  The following month’s bill would then be $1191.02.  After only three months, the person has to pay $191.02 more than what he or she originally spent.  This example shows what poor credit decisions can do to one person.  A similar concept applies to the government’s debt situation, but the government’s fiscal imbalance is extreme and growing. 

The National debt has accumulated from government deficit after government deficit.  Interest is added on to the debt and it increases even more. Then, interest is charged on the debt and the previous interest. This cycle continues and the debt multiplies faster and faster, digging the country deeper and deeper into a hole.  The national debt is getting worse at an increasing rate and something needs to be done now so it does not continue this way. 

The United States’ debt has been piling up for decades, because citizens are receiving more benefits than they fund through taxes.  An excessive amount of the government spending and its promises that create benefits for Americans of the last generation will be financed by this generation; the debt plus the interest are being pushed to this younger generation.  If action is not taken now, the younger generation may think it is alright to shift even more debt onto their children.  Along the way we will face loosing good government programs, paying much higher taxes, or both. The debt needs to be paid off so that this generation’s children do not lose benefits from the government such as public schools.  The problem must be fixed before it becomes very damaging. 

The first step to fighting the United States debt is to make it a national priority.  The President, and congressional representatives all must understand the situation and address the sacrifices we must make.  The legislators need to realize that their actions can sometimes benefit people now but cause great harm to future taxpayers.  Debt elimination must be a high priority. Instead of postponing the debt payments, some government programs and spending will have to be postponed.  The government will have to “tighten its belt” as some would say. 

The public also needs to be made aware of the situation and how it will affect them.  It should not cost much to educate most citizens.  The debt problem can easily be explained in terms most Americans can understand.  It is similar to a person running up a huge credit card bill all of his life and then giving it to his children to pay off entirely on their own. This would put the dilemma into an understandable perspective.  Then, the real consequence and solutions could be presented to the citizens.  One point that especially needs to be stressed is why lowering taxes leads to a bigger deficit.  When Americans understand this, they will hopefully put less pressure on politicians to lower taxes.  Then, the politicians and lawmakers can place a higher priority on debt reduction instead of lowering taxes.

The United States cannot clear the debt overnight.  It will have to be paid off slowly, but slowly is better than not at all.  To eliminate debt the government budget needs to have a surplus instead of a deficit.  One way to achieve a surplus is to have an increase in taxes.  Most of the government budget comes from personal and payroll taxes, so this is the easiest way to get more funds.  The government will then use the surplus money towards the debt.  Taxpayers need to be aware that they are going to have to pay more taxes in order to get more benefits from the government.  The country’s current debt is partially due to citizens receiving more benefits than the amount they pay in taxes.

If taxes are increased, people may have a slightly lower standard of living than they experienced previously.  Doing this voluntarily would be much better than being forced to by an intense economic recession or collapse that could result from too much national debt.  The President and Congress should set an example for United States and the rest of the world.  They should cut back on frivolous spending and fancy objects.  This act would show the American people, that eliminating national debt really is a priority and that these legislators can be trusted with the taxpayers’ money. 

The citizens of America need to recognize the problem of national debt and take action now.  Once the problem is recognized, it can become a national priority and plans can be implemented.  The longer this problem is pushed to the side, the harder it will be to overcome.  If the country does not demolish the mentality that created this debt, then the debt may demolish this country.




Re: Demolishing the Debt

I agree with the fact that so many people can not and do not feel like they can trust the government or policy makers. When our government officals cannot control their own spending then how should be trust them with our money. Therefore increasing taxes only makes the people feel like they are getting "punished" and that their money is going right down the drain just like it has proven to be in the past.


Re: Demolishing the Debt

I agree with pretty much everything that you said, and the mian thing that cuaght my attention was also the thing about taxes. I would have to say that there is no point to it and it just seems like people are putting money out there to be putting money out there. Overall i would have to say that you did a great job and it was very easy for me to read!!
Emma Sorensen


Re: Demolishing the Debt

Hey Amy,

Wonderful job, i especially liked your examples for national debt. I liked your thought on taxes, it would benefit us to increase taxes because like you said people will have a lower standard of living. Nice Job

Whitney Franklin


Re: Demolishing the Debt

Amy,

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about our financial debt. I agree with your point about taxes it would benefit our economy to increase. Your essay was well written and easy to read! great job

Kelsey C


Re: Demolishing the Debt

Amy,
I fully agree with you on your stance of encouraging people to live below their desired standards so it would be such a heartache to raise taxes so we can in turn pump money back into the economy. Great Job!!
-Brandon Rich


Re: Demolishing the Debt

Amy, you and I know what we have to do about our finacial problemAnd about our priorty is for the United States to be safe and for all of us to work on our problem.


Re: Demolishing the Debt

Amy,

Your essay was really great! I liked how you made credit card debt one of the main problems for the National Debt we are in now. It was great that you pointed out interest of credit cards and gave examples. I feel as though people fail to realize how much interest can put you in debt if you do not pay your bills on time. I am a good example of that. When I was younger, I got a credit card and became tight on money and could not pay a couple months. I had no idea how much money I was actually losing and ending up owing them on a simple small charge I made. It adds up!! Great job!

Ashley Goodloe


Re: Demolishing the Debt

I really liked your concluding paragraph. We share the same beliefs about the national debt. Great essay.


Re: Demolishing the Debt

Amy- I agree educating the public is key in solving the debt problem. I know that after being in an econ class and getting a better understanding of the economy I am more concerend than I would have otherwise been.


Re: Demolishing the Debt

I hate that they have to cut government funded programs, most of them end up being in public schools!! Those kids need after school programs to keep them out of trouble and keep them active!!

Whitney Cates


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