What the Federal Budget, Deficit Means for You

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Government spending draws lots of attention. People sometimes liken spending to a business and consider the federal government to be living outside its means.

The federal government runs a deficit–it takes in less money than it spends every year. The deficit now stands at almost $600 million.

But that’s just for this year. The annual deficits add to the nation’s long-term debt, which is now at almost $20 trillion.

That’s $62,000 for every person living in the country. And what it means for Missourians is more long-term liability for what the federal government owes.

The good news is there’s no date at which the entire $20 trillion comes due all at once, but the debt isn’t standing still.

Tax and spending habits in Washington D.C. mean the that the deficit and debt are projected to increase steadily at least for the next decade.

Republicans tend to support budget cuts to rein in the deficit, while Democrats tend to oppose most of what Republicans want to cut.

But cuts alone won’t get the country out from under the debt burden.

Getting enough people in both parties to agree on a comprehensive reform package is key, but this is easier said than done. People just have different perspectives on where the government best spends our tax dollars.

Meanwhile, the debt clock continues to run. It’s now time to push for some sort of consensus on how to tackle this debt crisis. There is no perfect solution, but the answer is certainly not the status quo.

Brian Calfano holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Texas and is associate professor the political science and journalism departments at Cincinnati University. He has published over 50 academic journal articles and other manuscripts on public opinion, religion and politics, media, and related topics. 

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