Americans Now Owe $189,000 Each in National Debt and Unfunded Entitlements

As Michael Tanner noted this weekend in The New York Post, “the current state of our union can be summed up in just two words: We’re broke.”  In his State of the Union address,

The president devoted just 189 words to the deficit and our growing national debt, but the fact is that once again this year we will borrow 32 cents out of every dollar we spend. Overall, our national debt now tops $15.2 trillion (with Congress raising the debt ceiling to $16.4 trillion last week). And that doesn’t count the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare. Throw those in, and our total indebtedness exceeds $120 trillion.

That means that if one counts only the official national debt, every man, woman and child in America owes $48,700. Include the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare, and every one of us is in debt to the tune of $189,000. . . measured as a percentage of [our economy,] our budget deficit is roughly a quarter larger than France’s. In fact, among European countries, only Greece and Ireland have larger deficits this year than we do.

The debt figures paint an even grimmer picture. If one includes all the unfunded liabilities of pension and health-care systems, Greece’s total debt equals 875% of its GDP. . .The United States, however, now owes 885% of GDP, more than any other industrialized country.

Rather than come to grips with America’s fiscal crisis, President Obama gave a State of the Union address littered with costly giveaways, and full of false claims about outsourcing and corporate taxes. (Ironically, for all his denunciations of outsourcing, Obama has spent billions of dollars on foreign “green energy” firms: “79 percent” of all green-jobs subsidies in the stimulus package “went to companies based overseas,” noted the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University.)

Massive budget deficits and mushrooming entitlements increased the federal government’s long-term obligations by $4.2 trillion in 2011 — more than three times the $1.3 trillion official figure for the federal budget deficit, noted a Washington Post article. (Even the official budget deficit is more than eight times the size of the budget deficit back in 2007.) The Obama administration has run up the biggest budget deficits in history. Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package, which benefited public-employee unions, will actually shrink the size of the economy in the long run, the Congressional Budget Office says, although it temporarily pumped up employment among government-employees. (By contrast, two economists argue that it wiped out the jobs of a million private-sector employees by diverting money from the private sector to the public sector.) Congress recently failed to block the Obama Administration from raising the national debt ceiling by another $1.2 trillion.