On Tuesday, the Democratic National Convention got under way as a historical landmark in American history took place: U.S. debt reached $16 trillion.
The debt racked up by American leaders represents 104 percent of the Nation’s gross domestic product, making it larger than the entire economy. The national debt has tripled under the previous two Presidential administrations.
“This is a grim landmark for the United States,” Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said in a statement. “That’s more government debt per person than Portugal, Italy, Spain or Greece. Yet the president seems strangely unconcerned.”
The message coming from the DNC will likely downplay the enormous debt burden, as Democratic operatives contend that too rapidly attacking the massive debt could create a spiraling economic downturn.
“What’s necessary is to stabilize the debt and then work from there,” Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod said during a weekend interview. “You can’t balance the budget in the short term, because to do that would be to ratchet down the economy.”
Obama’s debt-reduction plan calls for lowering the national deficit to the tune of $4 trillion over the course of the next decade, but it is often criticized for a reliance on hefty tax hikes and the lack of a long-term debt solution.
“The problem with the Obama plan is basically that it doesn’t contain a long-term strategy for tackling the debt, which they will concede,” Bob Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition (a group in Arlington, Va., that advocates deficit reduction) told Bloomberg.
The national debt continues to grow at a rate of about $2 million every minute.