Money here, money there; money, money everywhere! In today’s society, that’s all anyone ever talks about. We see it on television, hear it on the radio, read about it in magazines, and experience the effects that possessing money brings to us on a day to day basis. But unfortunately, all of this talk isn’t about having money, it’s about not having money. So, my statement is incorrect- money is NOT everywhere, it’s barely anywhere. This is due to a rising problem facing the United States today; our debt. In our nation today, we as Americans are experiencing what many would call the second Great Depression.
First and foremost, the national debt, however, is not solely calculated upon our government and high officials in Washington, as many apathetic American’s may think. But, debt is defined as ALL U.S. debt. This numbered is totaled by adding the debts of federal, state, and local governments, international, and private debt, which includes: households, business and financial sector debts, and federal debt to trust funds. Based upon this definition, every U.S. citizen has contributed to this debt, no matter who you are, or where you work. This has been caused simply by people or companies that have used loans, or credit, and can’t pay it back. The lack of income to some is one reason why loans and debts cannot be repaid in full, causing a chain reaction- if one person can’t pay someone, then that someone can’t pay another person, and so on. Because of lack of structure, the debt has gotten uncontrollably out of hand and no one seems to know what to do to stop it, let alone fix the problem.
According to Michael W. Hodges, author of America’s Total Debt Report, as a U.S. economy, we have reached a whopping $57 trillion in debt. This is the highest debt ratio in history! Based on these calculations, that is $186,717 per man, woman and child (or $746,868 per family of 4). To me, that is astonishing! In Kansas, each family could have a nice house and a nice car, all paid for with that money. Unfortunately, that money has not been used in such a way, rather its money that we owe. But where has all this money gone?! Many of us can’t even fathom 1 million dollars, let alone trillion, and you add a 57 in front of that, it almost makes one’s knees buckle. It’s crazy to think that America, the “leading nation in the World”, could be suffering from this. Unfortunately it’s not getting better. However, the debt is increasing rapidly, by $3 trillion last year alone.
As a college student, this news is quite frightening to me. I am experiencing debt first hand, with student loans. It’s unbelievable the cost of college, and everything that comes with it. Thank goodness for loans! (Or so it seems.) It’s just free money right? Wrong. What many students don’t realize is that all of this money will eventually have to be paid back. In order to be able to pay the money back, income must be necessary. However, this is where another problem arises. Because of our nation’s debt, it is affecting job opportunities and placement as well. Many businesses are on what you would call a “freeze”, meaning they can’t hire anyone because they can’t afford to pay them. So what does this mean for us? That’s where the problem arises. If we can’t find a job, then we won’t receive paychecks, which in turn won’t allow us to pay back the debt that we owe.
We must take action now. It’s already too late, but it’s better late than never. If we don’t do something about it soon, our children, their children, and generations beyond them, will suffer from the decisions and actions that we make today. We may not benefit for many years to come, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the stability of the national economy for the future. It starts right now!