Keith Houck: The facts, please

October 19, 2013 

Letters to the editor should require factual support. Many claim the debt issue an imminent danger to the stability of our country. A recent writer claimed we carry debt over seven times our income. However, federal budget data shows nothing of the sort.

Our 2012 income (GDP) was $15.7 trillion according to the World Bank while our debt was $16 trillion. Debt basically equals income, nowhere near a seven-fold difference. Such levels are not unprecedented and are explained by government stimulus to mitigate the serious economic downturn and associated decreased tax revenues.

The real risk from government debt is the burden of interest payments, currently only 2 percent of GDP, much lower than the 4 percent during 1980 to 2000.

While long-term issues with paying for major social programs exist, short-term budget issues are wildly distorted by those seeking political gain. One result: a dysfunctional Congress allowing extremists to impose suffering using rhetoric completely disconnected from reality. As Thomas Jefferson eloquently pointed out, “Democracy demands an educated and informed electorate.”

Keith Houck

White Cross

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