The US budget deficit, the national debt and the value of money

July 31, 2017

When someone decides whether to read something or not, including a blog post, they look at the title and determine whether it seems of interest. National income accounting (taxes, spending, the deficit, etc.) is not the most glamorous title in the world BUT maybe the part about money grabbed your attention. Conventional wisdom is that money is the root of all evil, but Mark Twain said it best when he wrote, “Money is not the root of all evil; the LACK OF MONEY is the root of all evil.” And besides, people perk up when the subject turns to money.

Humor aside for a moment, the topic of the deficit and the debt is extremely important. Remember back in 2011 and 2013 when the Congress of the United States seriously threatened to refuse to raise the debt ceiling? Remember the “fiscal cliff” of late 2012? These events caused shock waves to drive through the entire world and almost led to a catastrophe that would have severely damaged the world economy and cost hundreds of millions of people their jobs. And I am not talking about people in the financial sector. I am talking about people in all lines of work – people in communities throughout the United States. You want to talk about community development? Extension does a great job in this effort, but national recessions always rob communities of resources they need in order to thrive, despite the best efforts of elected officials, business people, or outreach educators. That is one of the reasons why I, as a faculty member in Extension Community Development, often teach and write about the national economy and government policies that can damage it or help it.

Read the complete article on the OSU Extension CD Blog, which includes an explanation of the difference between the budget deficit and the national debt, the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, and the 2013 debt ceiling crisis, as well as an aftermath and outlook.

Tom Blaine is an Associate Professor, OSU Extension.