Let’s imagine you’re on a road trip. You’ve been planning for a while and you’re well prepared. You’ve got snacks, great company, navigation, your car has been serviced recently, and you have one very important thing: a full gas tank. It’s more than enough to get you to the next gas station.  

Except, instead of prioritizing your resources, in this case gas, your friends decide to ride with the windows down and the A/C blasting. And to take some extra detours. Before you know it, you don’t have enough gas to get where you’re going. You have to call an emergency tow truck to refuel. Ouch.  

Trying to use more gas than you have makes no sense on a road trip. But, replace the gas with money, and you have the U.S. government right now. Think of it this way: Our tax revenue should be enough “gas” to fund the necessary expenses for the government. But, Washington is spending. A lot. More than we ever have.  

Let’s put the amount the federal government is spending in context. You would think that politicians in Washington would notice this trend and focus on burning gas a little more efficiently. Nope. Instead, government spending is pedal to the metal. And they’re doing it even as we approach a critical date—July 31—the expiration of the debt ceiling, the total amount of debt that the government is legally allowed to take on. Federal spending, right now at 26% of gross domestic product, will keep growing even after all the COVID-19 spending falls away.  

The key takeaway is this: Government is spending way more than the economy can sustainably handle. Needless to say, America’s tow truck bill is going to be a serious one. And that cost is going to fall on the American people. A kid born in 2020 currently has a $60,000 share in the national debt. 

Our national debt is nearly $30 trillion. It’s staggering and will have some serious effects on our economy. We are already seeing inflation going up, which means the price of everyday goods are increasing. As scary as this seems, the good news is that our government doesn’t have to work this way.  

We can get this spending and debt under control and make sure that our debt doesn’t continue to stack up without accountability. It’s all up to us.  

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