June 8th, 2009
11:40 AM ET

Can U.S. go a trillion more in debt?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/22/art.capitol.dome.cnn.jpg]

John Feehery
Special to CNN

We spend nearly as much on defense as the rest of the world combined. We spend more on health care than anybody else in the world. And we have a bigger national debt than anybody else in the world.

Some experts are warning that if we keep spending like drunken sailors, we may lose our AAA credit rating, costing taxpayers billions more in higher interest payments.

The press widely reported that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner went to China partly to convince the Communist government that we will bring our spending habits under control and that their investments are safe with us.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Health Care • John Feehery • Raw Politics
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Arachnae

    Carter! The worst president in History.

    Wrong. We just got shed of the worst president in history.

    June 8, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  2. Enough

    Arachnae – Carter! The worst president in History. Did you actually live through the Carter and Reagan years or did you learn everything you know from a College professor?

    June 8, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  3. Monika

    As a German, it just never ceases to amaze me how you Americans always start whining like a baby with dirty diapers when someone mentions affordable health care for all and how it's supposed to bankrupt the system. There are actually countries on this same planet that offer just that and – amazingly – they're actually better off financially than the U.S. Geez, I wonder how they do it!!!!

    Maybe if the U.S. didn't have to constantly make war with the rest of the world, there would be enough money to take care of its citizens. Hmmmm, you think?????

    June 8, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  4. Melissa

    Whatever you have to do to keep your head above water is better than anything that comes out of the Republicans mouths who have no solutions but more of the same.

    June 8, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  5. earle,florida

    The answer is a resounding "Yes"! China is a toothless tiger,with clawless paws clipped to stubs regarding it's GDP vs. the United States,period! We can easily absorb even another $5.0 Trillion if need be,to right ourselves. Why? If China pressures the United States, it's major trading party in which it has prospered through by,"Playing,The Field of Ambiguity" with Trillions of United States (dollars) $$$ siphoned off (fair trading partners) through imbalanced (to say the least?) trade, and turned around to buy our cheap debt! This strategy China poses can easily be reversed? With europe in a financial flux,and the UK about ready to declare bankruptcy,who's gonna buy their junk,and I mean "Tainted Junk",not this guy. I'm buying "Made-In-America",and not, "Made-In PRC",and I would imagine the other countries unfairly destabalized by China's unorthodox trading will follow suit! This is not protectionism as some would have us believe ,but survival, til we all get our own financial house in order. Finally,here's an interesting piece of data regarding which countries own/hold (six largest) the most of our," Treasury Debt (Mar/2009 treasury data)" : China-$768bn/ Japan-$687bn/ Carribean-$214bn/ OPEC-$192bn/ Russia-$138bn/ U.K.-$128bn/' which has a grand total amount of approx. $2.1tn ,which ain't that freightening considering that when our country gets up to speed (our feet on the ground) our GDP will be $16-18 Trillion conservatively! PS. Don't-Tread-On-Me"! Go President Obama!

    June 8, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  6. Lisa in CA

    Enough, and those tax cuts have worked so well, haven't they? Clinton came in with a deficit, raised taxes (which is what Obama is supposedly planning – to raise taxes back to Clinton's level) got us into the black, turned it over to Bush and we're back in deficit mode with all those tax cuts. Oh, yeah, and the Tax Cut and Spend GOP Congress.

    None of our issues are going to be resolved with "experts" who have no experience dealing with the issues. Seriously, tell me how someone who will never have to deal with an HMO, or wait for some bean-counter to decide if it's financially feasible to approve a surgery, have any clue what the rest of us normal, citizens go through. As such, until they start inviting real people who have to deal with things to the table, and involve them in the conversation and decision-making, we're only going to add more layers of red-tape and cost us that much more with ANY form of nationalized health insurance.

    And if they don't want to invite us to the table, maybe we should consider taking away their fully-funded anything goes medical coverage for them and their families (which pay for but is to costly for us to have) and make them jump through the same hoops we do. Maybe then, they will understand.

    Or they could get Medi-Care in order first ... then tackle it on a national level.

    June 8, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  7. Arachnae

    Enough – are you so clueless that you can't understand that we've tried the GOP way for 20-30 years? Do you further not understand that ever since the Great Depression, ONLY deficit spending has dug us out of recession?

    Don't talk to me about Reagan's 'tax cuts' – Reagan had to raise taxes and spend us out of a recession too.

    June 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  8. Trav

    @Enough There has been a sea change in attitudes in this country regarding the strong desire by millions of americans of wanting a nanny government. Years ago people had some independence and pride but no more. It is much easier to expect the government to wipe your nose, tie your shoes, zip your coat and be told how to run their lives and businesses.

    More and more americans are becoming accepting of high deficits and burdening future generations with our debt if it means that they will be taken care of.

    Yes the Republicans ran up a lot of debt, but that does not excuse the Democrats of spending like drunken sailors. BOTH parties need to realize that tax hikes and spending cuts are necessary. I fear that it is too late though.

    June 8, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  9. Dan

    The thing we keep forgetting is that our parents and grandparents initially started this debt. Everyones grandchildren inherit the prior generations lack of fiscal responsibility.

    June 8, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  10. Kaelinda

    Why do people keep insisting that Obama has raised taxes? As far as I can tell, he cut taxes for almost everyone – and the few people he didn't cut taxes on are so rich they don't even know how much they pay in taxes each year!

    Yes, we're in a lot of debt. Bush started it by bailing out the banks (which should have been allowed to go bankrupt) and Obama continued it by bailing out the auto industry. But there's more to our debt than just bailouts. There's all the infrastructure improvement that Bush just ignored so he could finance his wars. And more money for education, so that our kids can compete again with Asian and Indian kids who outshine them brilliantly in school. The Republicans complain about the national debt, but I'd be willing to bet that when college tuition is almost free and health care is almost free, when the highways and bridges are safe again, and when the country's manufacturing sector is back in America, even Republicans will be there to grab up their fair share of the beneficence.

    June 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  11. karen

    Is this a stupid question?

    In my opinion, the USA has already lost it's triple A ratings.

    Their is no way the Federal Reserve can put the interest higher. By higher, i mean like 10%.

    Their is no possible way to pay the interest on a $11 trillion dollar debt. No way. As soon as CNN gets a economist on their shows, you fools will be just a bunch of sheep.

    Only possible way = Default

    The Obama way? = Tax to death or Print money. If we print more money we risk the dollar going to hell.

    June 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  12. meenas17

    Borrowing becomes easy as years roll by. The first time , you take a loan , you are apprehensive . As you approach the next time , the attempt is easy. Then you reel in debt , as a drunkard wallows in spurious drinks. So much so, the fed has to restrict the spending,and work on thrift measures to repay the loans , so as to liberalise the country from he creditors.

    June 8, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  13. Enough

    Arachnae – Are you so clueless that you can't understand how cutting taxes would stimulate the economy?? Yeah, let's keep doing the Democratic solution and raise taxes out of the park and have every social program funded to the hilt. Sounds like a great way to stimulate the economy, doesn't it?

    June 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  14. Jeanette

    I can't stand even commenting on it anymore. MAKES ME SICK!!!!!!!!

    June 8, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  15. Artbuff

    Maybe China and the other countries we owe, will take us over, just like banks take over houses that people can't pay for.

    June 8, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  16. Arachnae

    WHAT?? A Republican suggests we cut taxes and slash social programs? I'm shocked, SHOCKED. (/snark)

    June 8, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  17. Cindy

    We owe China so much money now it is pathetic. If we borrow any more we may as well say that China owns us. We can't afford any more debt at all. I don't care what it is for!

    The government needs to cut way back on it's spending and should have let GM and these other companies go under and file bankruptcy. It shouldn't be up to us to float them money. It did no good as we can see because GM is now doing just that...filing bankruptcy even though we gave them mega bucks. If they can do it now they could have done it then without our money.

    If we keep adding to our debt we will never get out of it..ever. Our great great great grandkids will still be paying the price for our stupidity.


    June 8, 2009 at 11:57 am |