Every American now owes $54,245 for their share of the U.S. national debt. With the national debt now reaching over $16.4 trillion, organizations like the Bipartisan Policy Center, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Concord Coalition, The Can Kicks Back, Fix the Debt, and Concord 51 are all in search of solutions to ensure a healthy fiscal future.
In an effort to promote a meaningful discussion on reducing the national debt, we invited these organizations to participate in an hour long Twitter chat to share with our community their solutions to the debt crisis.
Also joining us was Reuters' Senior D.C. Economics reporter Pedro da Costa, economic scholar and author, Murray Holland; author of "The Public Debt Problem, A Comprehensive Guide," Pierre Lemieux; president of the Reform Project, Carlos Sierra; Reuters contributor Cate Long, and former U.S. Comptroller General and Founder/CEO of the Comeback America Initiative, Dave M. Walker.
Before hashing out the details on tax reform, spending cuts, and bipartisan compromise, we asked our participants why the national debt is such a pressing issue in America today. Struggling to keep the responses into the 140 character messages unique to Twitter, our respondents started off the chat with a lively discussion of the implications of national debt and the need for a balanced budget.
Speaking to the importance of the debt as a national issue, Jason Peuquet, Research Director from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, argued:
"As long as debt continues to rise, the economy faces risks: 1. Less wiggle room for projections to turn worse or new legislation... 2. Long-term debt challenges are so serious that it depends a running start, which means enacting a gradual plan right now 3. Most importantly, elevated and rising debt leaves us economically vulnerable..it creates uncertainty and slows growth"
IVN active, Tristan Cody tweeted, "Think about it. We're human. We have our needs and debt is a hindrance to obtaining those needs. Debt is a big issue." IVN contributor Ryan McLain responded with his recent article, "Data on National Debt Doesn't Support Doomsday Sensationalism."
David Walker applied his experience as the former U.S. Comptroller General in answering this question:
The discussion veered into a conversation about taxes and spending. Co-Founder & Field Director of The Can Kicks Back -- which now has contributions on IVN.us -- Nick Troiano reminded people just how much the government spends with one simple image:
In addition to cutting spending, the Concord Coalition advocated for tax reform to increase revenues.
The issue of tax reform has been a highly contested issue here on IVN, with contributors arguing both for and against the FairTax reform. A consumption-based tax system, raising revenues, and entitlement reforms were all discussed, with some interesting input from Pierre Lemieux, who argued:
"Anything that does not raise everybody's rates by 50% will not solve the problem."
Bringing us back to the real issue at hand, inaction of a party-driven political system, Reform Project President Carlos Sierra blamed our leadership for the current debt crisis.
While solutions are not attainable in an hour, we finished off the chat by discussing ways in which we can get involved in urging our elected officials to act on the pressing issue of the debt.
Missed the chat? You can see the full conversations below: