Deficit: Will it be left to the next generation?

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Atira Tracy, Reporter

A budget deficit is when a country’s government spends more than it takes in from taxes or other forms of revenue. Although individuals, companies and other organizations can run deficits, the term usually applies to governments.

“It means the government is taking in less in any given year in tax revenue than they are paying out for things like roads, schools, national defense, food inspection, border patrol….the list goes on and on,” said David Dillman, a marketing teacher at Durango High School.

Government spending is a component of a nation’s total output, known as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is the total amount that everyone pays for goods and services. The government borrows this money each year and repays it to bond holders with interest.  Right now, the interest payments are vey low compared to what they could be.

If the interest payments get high enough, it creates a drag on economic growth, as those funds could have been used to stimulate the economy. The government draws out more funds than can be replaced which means it gets paid out of general funds which causes programs to be cut, taxes to be raised or benefits to be lowered.

“It will increase taxes and increase the population of the poor community, causing a dangerous slope for those teetering on the edge of poor and middle class. It will most likely become a problem for people with one job who live alone,” said Sr. Parker Gaughan.

Although both candidates agree that the deficit represents a national security threat, they have distinct ideas on how to deal with it. Donald Trump plans on decreasing the deficit by cutting government funding in education and environmental protection.

“Number one, we have tremendous cutting to do. You have a Department of Education that is totally out of control, massive costs. We’re gonna save on Department of Environmental Protection, because they’re not doing it. They’re not doing their job, and they’re making it impossible for our country to compete,” said Trump.

Opponents of Trump’s plan to end the deficit point out that his proposed tax breaks would far outweigh the budget cuts. In an independent study by Citizens for Tax Justice, Trump’s tax plan would cost 12 trillion over 10 years.

Hillary Clinton also agrees that the deficit is a major issue. Her solution is increased taxation on the wealthy. While in theory taxing citizens who make more than one million dollars per year would dramatically decrease the deficit over multiple years, in reality Clinton’s plan would likely lead to a larger deficit as result of her plans for aggressive spending on education and infrastructure.

Amid all of the proposed plans, the debt continues to grow. Unless the deficit is addressed, the future generation will be left with a colossal task — paying off a deficit that it many times greater than U.S.’s annual GDP.