- - Saturday, October 17, 2015

With an over $18 trillion national debt, the United States has now exceeded 100 percent of its own gross domestic product and is threatening the foundations of its own existence by creating an expansive entitlement state, weakening national security and harming the American workforce.

Since the turn of the century, participation in government entitlement programs has grown at a disturbing rate that America can simply not afford.

For example, SNAP, formerly and better known as food stamps, has grown to about 45 million participants, a close to 200 percent growth of a 51 year-old program in just 15 years.

In total, entitlement programs make up approximately 60 percent of all federal spending, which is an alarming threat to America’s national security.

By increasing government spending on entitlement programs, less money is available each year in the federal budget to be used on defense spending.

Currently, less than 20 percent of the federal budget goes towards the nation’s military.

And, on top of increased entitlement spending and a decreasing monetary support for America’s national defense, the American workforce is struggling more than most even realize.

While the nation’s unemployment rate is reported to be around 5 percent, it is actually much worse than that.

When taking into account part-time workers, discouraged workers and the marginally attached, America’s unemployment rate is actually about 11%.

So, what does this all really mean and should Americans be concerned?

Absolutely, Americans should be utterly terrified.

To put things in perspective, in order for someone to save $18 trillion dollars by the time they are 80, they would have to save about $612 million every day of their life.

Thus, if the American government had a surplus of over $1 billion every day for the next 40 years, they would still not be able to pay off today’s national debt.

Clearly, $18 trillion is not getting paid off anytime soon in America.

However, this doesn’t mean progress cannot be made toward lessening this incredibly large debt.

Moving forward, it is important for Americans to vote for fiscally responsible leaders who will benefit the country by lowering the national debt through spending cuts and entitlement reforms, which will in turn strengthen the nation’s military, the American workforce and the overall economy, benefiting all Americans.

Madison Gesiotto is a staff editor for the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

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