A dry subject, but very scary. Currently almost $22 trillion (the government’s unfunded obligations for Medicare, Social Security and veterans’ benefits add $105 trillion), that’s 76% of GDP. Although not a contest you want to win, that ranks us 43rd highest out of 207 countries. Even worse, the CBO projects this will rise to 100% by 2028. The US has the largest external debt in the world. The question is – does anybody care? The President has given no indication he’s much interested in the deficit, nor have Presidents before him. One House member said “concern about the deficit is so woefully out of fashion that it’s hard to even imagine it coming back into fashion”. Does it matter that the world is built on debt that will never be repaid? Interest on US debt is projected to be $389 billion in 2019 – that’s a budget item that must be paid or you risk a credit downgrade and higher cost of borrowing. Despite all of this, our government (both parties) continues to spend far in excess of revenue, the debt continues to balloon and there is not a word about this from anyone, except to gain a momentary political advantage. In 2005, the national debt increased by $554 billion and, in 2018, by $1.27 trillion. But isn’t our economy booming? Yes, but you can argue that the growth was bought and paid for with debt. What’s the input from the politicians? One side favors lower taxes and the other side new spending initiatives, both of which add to debt, are irresponsible and serve only to enhance re-election hopes. What can we do about this? Not much, except to hope for and promote more rational, realistic and clear-thinking people to run for public office. The sad fact is there’s no upside for the politicians to reduce spending – no political reward for doing it, but downside if you do.