United States struggles to manage budget


This is a screenshot of the US national debt calculator. As of Nov. 16, the debt is more than $20 trillion.

It’s no secret that America is mired deep in debt. The amount of money owed to other nations and businesses by the federal government is well over 20 trillion dollars as of 2017. But this isn’t a recent phenomenon. The government has been operating with an unbalanced budget since the days after Bill Clinton, and it is only getting worse. In October 2017, the government accumulated 63.2 billion dollars in debt, up by about 38% from the 45.8 billion gained in October of 2016.

In spite of the large sum of money owed, the government has been discussing tax cuts,  with the House of Representatives passing a bill that would provide for 1.3 trillion dollars in tax cuts Nov. 16, which would, at least in the short term, cost the government a fair sum of money.

The government, however, seems optimistic that tax cuts will stimulate the economy and benefit the masses.

“The biggest winners will be the everyday American workers,” President Donald Trump said at the Indiana state fair to his supporters. “Wages [will] start going up at levels you haven’t seen in many years.”

The predicted growth of the economy hinges on the idea of the wealthy business owners of America using the money they save from tax cuts and investing it back into their businesses, benefiting their employees, often referred to as “trickle-down economics.” Some people agree with this policy and predict that the economy will strengthen, and the debt will lessen.

“There will be more businesses in the United States, and that’s how you have an economy,” science teacher Jennifer Linden said.

Businesses producing more goods to trade and repaying the debt through trade is one possible outcome of the tax cut plan. Some, however, are not so positive about the prospects of the plan.

“I don’t think historically you can trust [business owners] to put [extra money] towards the greater good and not keep it for themselves,” social studies teacher Jennifer Loveday-Donovan said.

The issue of whether tax cuts are a valid solution to the problem is a divisive one, but both sides acknowledge the current status is unacceptable, and there is a need for change.

“[The deficit] has to do down. You can’t just live on debt forever,” Linden said.

While Americans may be put at odds with each other on how to improve the economy and resolve the nation’s debts, there is at least a common ground in a desire for change.

To help achieve change, some turn to the future generations.

“We have to educate our students in a way that makes them employable and ready to work,” Loveday said.

While the United States may be stuck in debt and operate under an unbalanced budget, its citizens are strongly opinionated about the topic; some are ready to help work for improvement to make the future a better place.

“It’s definitely possible to fix [the debt], but it starts with the people who work,” Loveday said.