On March 15, 2021, Joe Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act. Not a single Republican in the House or Senate voted in favor of this legislation, as only 9% of which had anything to do with the Wuhan China Virus. This in light of the fact that a trillion dollars was not yet spent from the money previously allotted for COVID relief.
Prior to this the first spending package for the virus was last year March 27, 2020, when Congress added $2.5 trillion to the national debt with the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) giving most adults $1,200. Most were jubilant to receive a stimulus check but to pay this single stimulus back today would cost each taxpayer $18,863 since about 50% of adults pay no income taxes (Compare U.S. Debt Clocks Nov. 2019 with April 2020). I would rather not have the $1200 stimulus if it costs me $18,863 later.
On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed a second Stimulus Bill of $900 billion giving most adults another stimulus of $600. We have not assessed what the payback for this particular stimulus will be.
These three stimulus packages ($2.5T, $900 B, $1.9T) added increased the national debt by $5.3 trillion in less than one year. This total is more than the combined cost of World War I, $334 billion, and World War II, $4.1 trillion “adjusted for inflation to today's dollars” (“The Cost of U.S. Wars Then and Now,”Military History, by Norwich University, October 20, 2020). Such debt is a recipe for bankrupting America and those doing it must know this.
So what is a trillion dollars? To begin with a trillion is the number one followed by twelve zeros. A trillion dollars is a thousand billion and a billion is a thousand million. One mathematician gave us a very practical way of evaluating our outstanding debt. One trillion one-dollar bills stacked atop each other (not end to end but flat) would reach nearly 68,000 miles into space—a third of the way to the moon (See CNN News Cast, Feb. 4, 2009). If so, the debt thus far incurred by the coronavirus alone, $5.3 trillion, would reach to the moon and two-thirds back to earth.
Senator Mitch McConnell gave another illustration just as awe striking. He calculated that if we spent a million dollars every day since Jesus was born, we still would not have spent a trillion dollars—only three-fourths of a trillion dollars (Ibid).
Who will pay these three coronavirus loans? Since we never liquidate our debt—only increase and pass it on to posterity—our grandchildren yet unborn, will be saddled with this debt plus the interest on it. How can I prophesy with such certainty? The United States has not been free of debt since Warren G. Harding 100 years ago (US Debt by President by Dollar and Percentage Who Increased the U.S. Debt the Most? Depends on How You Measure It. By Kimberly Amadeo, Updated November 04, 2019)?
Yes the coronavirus is a massive rogue wave that has sunk thousands of businesses in its path but following closely behind it is a tsunami many times larger—the national debt—that is and will bring down this country because our children cannot pay it either. Our national debt has soared to $28.09 trillion (USDebtClock.org). This debt in one dollar bills laid flat atop each other, not just the COVID portion as mentioned, will now go to the moon and back almost five times. We are drowning in debt.
I ask students, “Who gets to go without so that this debt can be paid?” “Go without!!!?” That is a concept foreign to this generation!! They do not know, and neither do their parents and grandparents who laid it on their backs. When they are told that their share to liquidate this debt is not just $37,726 for the coronavirus bailouts, but $224,456 per taxpayer—due immediately, they get angry (see USDebtClock.org). “Someone should have told me that government handouts are not free.”
The 13th Amendment ending slavery has been rescinded, they are America’s new slaves. Bondage was given them before their birth, or while they were in the womb, or before they were old enough to know what it meant to be sold into slavery. The past and present generations wanted nice costly programs for free and were willing to sell their children to have them. Worse, the older generation is still anxious to incur even more debt on our defenseless children and grandchildren. Are we not the most debt addicted, insensitive generation in U.S. History?
Yes these are hard times and in such adding to a national debt is said to be justified. What isn’t justified is that in prosperous times, of which most of the last 70 years have been, we should, and could have, liquidated that debt. Then a $5.3 trillion debt to handle a virus could have been repaid in the next prosperous time or perhaps by the children, but not now. We have squandered our wealth in foreign endless wars, foreign aid and domestic welfare.
Both parties are responsible for this debt. I had hoped with the robust Trump economy (the best in several decades) that we could start paying off the debt but now chances of removing, even the coronavirus portion of the national debt enslaving us, is slim. Biden proposes $3 trillion for infrastructure updating. Trillions more debt Democrats plan for reparations for descendants of slaves, the green new deal, and free college for everyone. It is hard to believe that the Democrats are not purposely pushing us over a cliff destroying the once wealthiest nation in world history.
Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Consitution and a syndicated columnist. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.