How to Fix the United States National Debt

by Leslie on August 21, 2008

An explosion of debt and entitlement spending is threatening to severely weaken this country and could fundamentally change our level of financial interaction with the government, requiring a doubling of the current tax levels.

This is not some far fetched political hootenanny, the numbers are not disputed. By 2022, at historic GDP growth rates and if big changes are not made, the federal government will only be able to pay for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the national debt.

We have a responsibility to ourselves and to our future to fix our country’s current financial inadequacies now, while the possibility to do so remains realistic. It’s not a Republican thing or a Democrat thing, it’s our thing.

We already attempted to answer what is the national debt? Now we are writing about what you can do about the United States national debt.

1. Become Educated
Learn about the problem, make up your own mind about the gravity of the situation, for it’s the only way to spark action and involvement.

  • Watch these brief illustrations from the film I.O.U.S.A (we attended the Live session with Warren Buffet, Pete Peterson… It was excellent. We recommend the film)

We also recommend watching the shortened version of the original documentary titled I.O.U.S.A. It is available at Youtube for free.

Consider reading these sources for background on the United States national debt

Learn about the entitlements that threaten our fiscal security

2. Better Yourself, Better Others
It seems like common sense, but a minority actually follow through with it.

  • Don’t follow the example of the federal government and spend more than you earn. If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it. What do you do with all that money that’s not being spent on stuff you can’t afford? Save it. It seems simple but for many reasons it is a huge challenge. Start with yourself and your family.

  • Improve yourself personally through education, try things, take risks, and learn from mistakes.
  • Improve your health. Don’t be part of the 61% of adults who are obese. Part of the rising cost of health care is our declining interest in a healthy lifestyle.
  • Adjust your thought process from an entitlement mentality to one of self-reliance. Do not rely on the government to insure against all kinds of trouble. Take care of yourself, it’s your responsibility.
  • Help others. Donate some of your time and good fortune to improve the lives of those in need around you. You know where you can make the most positive impact, consider doing it.

3. VOTE
Your most powerful tool to make big change is who you select to set the direction of this country and make decisions on your behalf.

Here is the kicker on this one: Hold them accountable.

  • Make it very clear that if they propagate fiscal stupidity or continue a policy of non-action, they will be fired and you will help find someone else who will make progress on this issue. Seems harsh, but when was the last time anyone was held accountable for anything other than media fodder promiscuity. The choices get tougher and tougher the longer we wait, so make it clear that empty promises and idleness are no longer acceptable.
  • Understand what their decisions mean financially. Lower taxes? what is it going to cost? Universal health care? what is it going to cost? and how can we afford these things when we have no money?

4. Talk about it. Think about it.
A little while ago we had no idea that the problem was this large. Now, possibly to our readers detrement, we have written a bunch of posts as we learn and develop a stance and plan of action.

  • Regardless of your view, discuss the issue. Talk to your parents. Talk to your spouse. Get people to think. The greatest error politicians, leaders, you, and I can commit is idle ignorance.
  • Know that it is not too big of an issue to solve and there is something you can do about it. Bad ideas and inaction got us in, better ideas and action can get us out.

Warning:It’s tempting to just click somewhere and move on to the next post or site out there. Regardless of your view on the issue or political beliefs, I urge you to slow down for just a second and come to a conclusion on this.  Is it important to you?

If it is, an I hope it might be, at least share these ideas or your own ideas, spark thought and debate, and give as ma
ny people as possible a chance to come to their own conclusions.  Think about it. Comment below. Talk about it.

What’s Next?

  1. If you haven’t already, I recommend reading our original post on the national debt and how it came about.
  2. $74 trillion is a mighty large number.  Visual artist Chris Jordan works to put some important numbers into perspective with his work. I recommend watching his TED Talk.
  3. Still can’t get enough big numbers? Here is the Super Buffet of National Debt Clocks.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Curt August 22, 2008 at 10:54 am

Great post. Education is definately the besting issue.

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N August 22, 2008 at 2:19 pm

I.O.U.S.A. really opened my eyes too, I went last night with my husband and friend. We're in the Atlanta area, and I found it very interesting that we were basically the only people under 40 in the audience. Almost everyone was late Boomers or older–what did the demographics look like at your theater?

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Ry@SpillingBuckets August 22, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Thanks

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Ry@SpillingBuckets August 22, 2008 at 4:58 pm

We were 2 out of probably 15 younger people. The theater was pretty full and definitely included a boomer majority. It made me sad though to see several groups, mostly the younger people, get up and walk out during the live session at the end. Maybe they had other commitments but it just stuck in my craw.

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MOneyEnergy August 23, 2008 at 12:00 am

Great post… I agree with these points. There definitely needs to be more education. It's going to be extremely hard for either president to fix anything deeply within one term. At a more pragmatic level, it would help if everyone paid off their debts and saved/invested some money. Citizens can start buying back all the debt that the foreigners will be cashing in on. Put pressure on the Fed to stop printing dollars.

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Money??????? August 24, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Those are all great ideas but what about doing something about it? Sure talk or think but I do not think the majority of our country will do anything until it hits us right at home. Our economy runs by self interest….. thats why we have our government to regulate. If thats the case why not push more towards cutting the guns and butter prices or many other solutions. I think if people are given more solutions by popular demand government will do so. why not contact our senators governors and reps. we can sit sit and talk about our debt all day and learn vital information to fix out problems. but people need to be pushed to do something with incentives

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Ry@SpillingBuckets August 26, 2008 at 5:28 am

That is the big challenge, acting before it reaches a critical maximum pain point is the greatest hurdle. Name a current politician that is not afraid to tell us that taxes will be raised, entitlements will be cut, and that we don't have enough money to keep running all the current programs. They don't exist. That's why the action steps above are so important. If we are educated about the problem and if we have created a positive financial situation for ourselves and our family, now we can seek those leaders who will do the best for the country, not just our personal situations.

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Money??????? August 26, 2008 at 8:39 pm

I Agree

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Jay Sargos March 28, 2010 at 7:34 pm

This article is definitely an eye opener to the true nature of our staggering national debt (crisis).

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Raymond Jackson October 21, 2011 at 9:31 am

Our country spends billions of dollars in clean air, clean water and maintaining our highways and streets. It’s time for the company’s as well as the people to start looking at the big picture. I feel if all cars, motorcycles, trucks, planes, boats and any other big machinery that has an effect on the environment should have to purchase a “USA” sticker @ $20.00 per year this money will take us out of our deficit and much more. Like fixing bridges that are about to fall… We all must take part not only for the deficit but for a better way of life for our children. “GOD BLESS AMERICA”,

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