01/06/2010 - The United States economy arrives in 2010 with hopes for a better year than last, but also with an old and large elephant in the national living room. Two symbolic elephants, really: the soaring federal budget deficit and the spiraling national debt.
Those of a mind to see for themselves can go to www.usdebtclock.org for a quick and jarring representation of just how fast both are growing. Here you can see the dollar digits change at an eye-crossing blur on both the budget deficit and the national debt. (The U.S. Debt Clock Web site is a real-time compilation of federal economic and demographic statistics.)
As a remedy, the nonpartisan Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform has recommended that Congress pledge to stabilize the federal debt at no more than 60 percent of GDP by 2018.
Such an approach seems both reasonable and utterly necessary. It would bring focus to the problem, which tends to seem more and more hopeless as the dollar numbers get geometrically larger. It would also put responsibility where it belongs — with Congress, which holds the power of the purse constitutionally.
Read the full article: We Owe, We Owe: Staring Into a Spending Abyss on The Houston Chronicle Web site.