"Ten Trillion and Counting"

By: Katelyn Klonowski

"Ten Trillion and Counting"

This documentary reports in how national debt will constrain and challenge the new Obama's administration, and on the growing chorus on both sides of the aisle that without fiscal reform, the United States government may face a debt crisis of its own, which makes the current financial situation pale in comparison.

National debt is a big deal in this country - it's the sum of all the annual deficits since we started out as a country. Peter Orszag is Barack Obama's budget director. He's the one that's in control of what should happen with the money the country has now. Is he making a difference, considering the economic state the country is currently in? Obviously not. Bush, Jr. had decided that we already pay more than enough on taxes. His main goal was to have a balanced budget in the end. So, he lowered taxes, thinking it would help the budget. DId it work?

National Debt

National Debt is the sum of all of the deficits added up since 1776, which was when we became a country. Considering how far our country is, we borrow money from China, since we're all out. We have to give it all back eventually, right? By doing that, we are just digging ourselves deeper and deeper into the giant hole we're already in, using more and more money that isn't ours.
"But the national debt? Nobody understands it, and anyone who tells you he or she does is almost certainly lying. In fact the supreme irony of this endless controversy over spending and austerity is that it has pushed the Federal Reserve as well as major European and Asian central banks, especially recently, to bypass the ignorant arguing public and take dramatic interventionist action on their own, tinkering with the world money supply in ways that are highly experimental and have no parallel in modern times. By all rights, this should be stimulating a profound debate around the industrialized world about who controls the process of money creation and about the role of government/central banks in the economy, but here in the U.S., that is exactly the debate we're mostly not having."

This is a quote from the Rolling Stone magazine. What we do as a country everyday is "[tinker] with the world money supply," getting China, Japa, Taiwan, etc. to send us money, just so we can spend it, and then ask for more all over again. It's just a cycle and a waste of time. The "debate that we're mostly not having" is the fact that the government controls almost everything now and we need to know what the actual role of the government is. All the country really needs is to figure out a way to use money - A.K.A. the opposite of what we're doing right now. Line 4 states that the central banks of Europe and Asia take it upon themselves to mess with the world money supply, so they're taking away money from other countries, just like what we're doing, and there's nothing good to come out of it.

"Even with lower deficits, the national debt is still rising. By 2025, our debt will top $27 trillion. Yet, Congress is not only kicking the can down the road, it is making the problem worse. Just last year, Congress put in place spending that will raise the debt by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget called 2015 “a banner year for fiscal irresponsibility.”

"By 2025, our debt will" be almost ten trillion dollars more than it is today. But, it doesn't include things like state/local debt, agency debt, and unfunded liability programs like social security and medicare. On average, the federal debt per person is almost $60,000 - definitely not chump change! Line 2 states that "Congress is making the problem worse." They suggested debt would raise 1.2 trillion dollars in the next ten years, but it's so much more than that. Line 4 states they're even the ones causing the problem. So, not only was their guess way off, one of the main reasons why the debt is so high is because of them.

Bush, Jr. Fiscal Policy

George Bush, Sr. campaigned against raising taxes. Bush, Jr. has tremendously influenced what his father did. So, he started lowering taxes also. But, we also kept spending. It was a cycle that happened over and over again because we were borrowing money.

"First, both Presidents (Bush, Jr. & Obama) spent more on defense than any Administration since WWII. Few people are aware that Obama spent more than Bush on defense, roughly $700 billion a year vs $500 billion. ... Second, both Bush and Obama used expansionary fiscal policy to combat recessions by stimulating economic growth. As a result, the U.S. debt rose the most during their terms. When measured this way, Bush added $5.8 trillion, while Obama added $7 trillion by the end of FY 2014. For more, see Debt by President and How Much Did Obama Really Add to the Debt? ... The third similarity is that both Presidents took action to address rising healthcare costs."

This is an article talking about the similarities of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The first thing the article mentions (line 1-3) is that both presidents spent more on defence than any Administration since WWII. Assuming that "defense" is military gear, that money could've gone to something else - like the hungry, perhaps? Yes, we know we have to have grade A stuff, because the U.S. is known for our military, but still. The second thing that's similar to the two presidents is that they both "used expansionary fiscal policy to combat recessions by stimulating economic growth." The expansionary fiscal policy is used to stimulate the economy during or anticipation of a business-cycle contraction. Was it necessary? Obviously not, considering the results of doing this. The third thing the two have in common is in lines 8-9 where it says that "both presidents took action to address rising healthcare costs." Okay, but healthcare is already expensive enough as it is, and people are losing the good insurance we used to have because of Obama's policies for healthcare, and it's only making it more expensive for citizens in the end.

Big image
In the graph above, it's clear to see that Obama had more of an idea in the terms of the national debt we're in, even though it wasn't as bad back when Bush, Jr. was is in office. While Obama is trying hard to increase the debt ceiling, Republicans are doing everything to make sure the US defaults for the third time in history (previous defaults were in 1790 and 1933), claiming the president is seeking a "blank cheque". But this whole mess is not due to Democrats' taste for redistribution, it's due to Bush's tax cuts and two unwinnable wars. The deficit Bush created is estimated at $5.07 trillion while Obama's stimulus spending is at $1.44 trillion. Clearly, Bush created the debt problem and now republicans are trying to make things even worse.

Peter Orszag

Peter Orszag is Obama's budget director. He claims that higher taxes and spending cuts aren't off the table. Orszag also suggests that the main focus should be on fixing/modifying the healthcare system. But the elephant in the room is why is it costing someone at Mayo Medical $25,000 in their last 6 months of life and someone at UCLA Medical $50,000 for the same care, with arguably lower standards?
"[Orszag] turned forty in December (2009)—making him the youngest member of a young Cabinet. As director of the Office of Management and Budget, he is occupied with conceiving, drafting, selling, and passing the President’s budget. And he is doing this while his colleagues Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, the Treasury Secretary and the director of the National Economic Council, are charged with rescuing the national banking system and the automobile industry."

Okay, so obviously this guy has a lot on his plate. As of right now, he's 46, which is still extremely young for the role he's playing at the white house. People usually pay attention to age in a countless number of different positions. They think the older you are, the more experienced you are, and vice versa. Lines 1-2 states that he's the youngest of the young, juggling millions of things at once. The last line states that even his colleagues are irresponsible, getting charged with stuff, including things associated with the automobile industry?????? Why.

"Mr. Orszag, you may recall, was the administration’s main proponent of “bending the curve” on health care expenditures. Frustrated that House Democrats wouldn’t accept some painful cost-cutting measures in the new health care law, Mr. Orszag pushed for and won a controversial provision to create something called the Independent Payment Advisory Board. This is an outside commission of 15 appointees who will, beginning in 2014, identify cuts to Medicare if the plan exceeds a preset rate for growth. Congress then has to either approve the cuts or propose an alternative."

This article claims that Orszag was "frustrated that the house democrats wouldn't accept some painful cost-cutting measures on the new health care law." This insists that they weren't ready to cut costs, and the House Democrats wouldn't put up with it, so they wouldn't allow it to happen. Since Medicare has been so expensive with fewer benefits, line 6 states that his goal was to try to make it easier and attempt to cut the cost of Medicare. After he tried to propose it, line 7 states that Congress can either agree or propose an alternative. So, it's obviously not going to be an easy thing to pass, considering the fact that Orszag already knew that they didn't want to accept it.


Amadeo, Kimberly and Kimberly Amadeo. 2016. "The Surprising Similarities Between Presidents Bush And Obama". About.Com Money. Accessed May 6 2016. http://useconomy.about.com/od/candidatesandtheeconomy/a/Obama-Bush-Economy.htm.

Bai, Matt. 2010. "Orszag Leaves, But Turf Battle With Congress Goes On". Nytimes.Com. Accessed May 6 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/us/politics/29bai.html.

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"The Mad Science Of The National Debt". 2013. Rolling Stone. Accessed May 4 2016.