By Alan Rappeport and Jim Tankersley
Oct. 4, 2022, 4:03 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — America’s gross national debt exceeded $31 trillion for the first time on Tuesday, a grim financial milestone that arrived just as the nation’s long-term fiscal picture has darkened amid rising interest rates.
The breach of the threshold, which was revealed in a Treasury Department report, comes at an inopportune moment, as historically low interest rates are being replaced with higher borrowing costs as the Federal Reserve tries to combat rapid inflation. While record levels of government borrowing to fight the pandemic and finance tax cuts were once seen by some policymakers as affordable, those higher rates are making America’s debts more costly over time.
We created this mess ourselves by never questioning how all we demand and readily accept from “government” is paid for – or not. The broad, unfocused distribution of rebates, tax credits, loan forgiveness and subsidies is irresponsible, as are tax cuts.
Many Americans seem to believe there is no connection between what is paid for by government, themselves and the taxes they pay or should be paying.
As we get closer to the election listen to the rhetoric from politicians making more promises with no regard to added deficits or debt and with no credible way of paying for their promises. And no, the answer is not simply to tax the wealthy. Even they don’t have enough money to foot the bill alone.