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Student Voice: How America Can Solve Our Debt Problem

May 30, 2024

The current United States debt is quickly approaching $35 trillion.

Do you have a job? Are you a taxpayer? Congratulations – you already owe more than a quarter of a million dollars. By the time you retire, that figure may be twice as high.

In the past, the largest increases in government spending came during real national emergencies such as world wars and the Great Depression. The most recent sizable increase in the national debt occurred during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress allocated trillions of dollars to be dispersed to people whose jobs and businesses were destroyed by governors like Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan and Gavin Newsom in California. Much of the stimulus went to people who were not affected.

The debt problem will worsen in the next few decades due to an aging population and low birth rates. Even before Obamacare pushed costs up, our healthcare system wasn’t based on free market principles, and some warned Medicare was heading toward bankruptcy.

Paying the interest on our federal debt is set to outpace government spending on essential things such as national defense and law enforcement. Regarding Social Security, most of the money is taken from middle-income employees to fund the income of wealthier retirees.

To solve the problem, we must raise the Social Security age, as was done in France. Ours was originally above life expectancy. We should subsidize healthcare only for poor retirees. Finally, we must privatize old-age programs, as they did in Sweden.

Will any of that ever happen? Perhaps. I hope more Americans will be educated at places like Northwood University, which values personal responsibility and living within your means. Only then will we have enough voters to demand a Constitutional amendment that prevents politicians from running deficits.

Editor’s note: This piece is featured in the Summer Edition of When Free to Choose, Northwood’s signature publication dedicated to promoting free enterprise. Click here to receive When Free to Choose in your inbox!

About the author

William Bismack is a Saginaw undergraduate student studying Management at Northwood University. He wrote this piece as a student in Dr. Alexander Tokarev’s Economics of Public Policies class, which explores both the short-term and long-term consequences of public policy as they relate to individuals and organizations.

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