Sinful National Debt

Politicians are “robbing” the next generation to live beyond their means.

The United States government is projected to spend $6.6 trillion in the fiscal year 2020, even if Congress does not pass a fifth covid-19 stimulus package. This is despite the fact that the federal government has only collected half that amount in tax revenues.

That means the government has run up a record-breaking $3.3 trillion deficit. And a new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that the government does not intend to reduce spending to pay back the debt it accrued from emergency covid-19 expenses.

Instead, it predicts trillion-dollar deficits for decades to come.

The 2020 Long-Term Budget Outlook predicts that federal debt held by the public will exceed the size of the U.S. economy next year. By 2050, this debt will be nearly double the size of the economy.

Just the interest on this debt will soon exceed $1 trillion per year. And federal debt held by the public does not include the trillions of dollars that the government has borrowed from its “Social Security Trust Fund” and other savings accounts.

Financial historian Niall Ferguson has warned that nations often fall apart when the cost of servicing their debts exceeds the cost of defending their borders.

Based on current budget projections, America will be spending more on interest than on defense by 2033. If interest rates on U.S. Treasury bonds increase, the nation could reach this point sooner.

America’s economic woes are one of many symptoms that point to the greater problem of rebellion against God’s law. Here’s a statement with prophetic reverberations. It was uttered by America’s top military officer, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to students at Fort Bliss in March, 2011: “I actually think the biggest threat to our national security is our national debt.”

Militaries cost money, and none more than America’s. The U.S. has spent more on defense than any nation in history: close to a billion dollars a day, every day, for over six decades—more than the rest of the world combined. But the times they are a changing. America is getting crushed by debt, and such spending is simply no longer sustainable.

And while this reality has hardly slowed the current U.S. administration from continuing to spend itself sick virtually everywhere else, the one area it seems eager to make cutbacks is within the military. As a result, the nation’s best war leaders are being forced to divert more and more of their energies into “boosting efficiency” and “cutting costs.”

What will be the effect on history’s most powerful military? Admiral Mullen is one of many observers who fear the possibilities. The truth is that the defense budget getting squashed by a bloated debt is only a symptom of a far greater problem. Since 2009, more than 30 defense-related programs have been “canceled, capped or ended,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged.

Among them: “plans for a long-range bomber; the F-22 program; the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk; two Pentagon agencies. The nation’s nuclear stockpiles are to be reduced by 30 percent; the missiles, subs and bombers used to deliver them, halved. The ranks of admirals and generals have been thinned. Hundreds of military bases have closed.”

Earlier in 2011, Secretary Gates announced $78 billion more in long-term military spending cuts and an additional $100 billion in re-allocations. The Navy axed the U.S. Second Fleet, which trains all strike groups before deployment. The Army canceled a missile system. The Air Force consolidated three numbered Air Force staffs. The Marine Corps got rid of its expeditionary fighting vehicle. The Army and Marines agreed to shrink their numbers.

Then in April 2011, Obama set a target to slash an additional $400 billion in defense spending over the next 12 years on top of the cuts already planned. And to replace Gates as defense secretary, he chose Leon Panetta—the man who oversaw the last major round of defense cuts during the Clinton administration. It appears Obama made this choice because he needed a good pitchman for further cuts.

As National Public Radio reported it, “The White House believes that Panetta’s sales kit contains the right tools. Having earned his hard-power stripes as CIA director, he may be able to reassure Congress that particular cuts won’t harm the nation’s defense posture.” But even if he can convince Congress of that, would it be true?

Admiral Mullen says no. Secretary Gates, who has dutifully saluted and carried out previous ordered cutbacks, is now openly concerned. At a speech in May 2011, he warned that the latest proposed reductions would result in “a smaller military” that could “go to fewer places and  do fewer things.”

Nevertheless, this is reality. Even as the world grows more volatile, more explosive, less predictable, even as other major nations deliberately, substantially boost their defense spending, America has passed the apex of its power militarily. And economic constraints are certain to accelerate its descent.

In fact, the armed forces are getting dragged down by the same millstone that is pulling the nation under: entitlements. Even if the defense budget remained level, rapidly rising personnel and health-care costs are swallowing an ever larger percentage of defense-allocated dollars.

As Secretary Gates pointed out, the military’s health-care costs alone have soared from $19 billion just a decade ago to $52.5 billion today.“The whole thing is being driven by the U.S. defense budget and the deficiencies in the American budget as a whole,” said defense analyst Charles Heyman.

As politicians and military commanders face off, he said, “The politicians are always going to be right because they hold the purse strings. At some stage in the next 18 months to two years we’re going to see a real ax taken to the American defense budget.”A real ax?

Already, the 18 combat divisions the Army had in the 1980s now stand at 10. The Navy’s 600 ships have been reduced to less than half that—fewer than at any time since the First World War. The Air Force’s tactical air wings have dropped from 37 to 20. Its planes are now fewer and older than at any time in its history.

“The useful life of the tanks, artillery, planes, ships and missiles that date to the Reagan buildup is ending, and the cost of replacing them is now far greater than it was back then,” wrote former Army officer Jeff Lukens. “Many of the Army’s weapons have already missed several rounds of modernization. Many of its soldiers are on their fourth or fifth tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. And the Army Reserves have been on repeated deployments overseas since 9/11 as well.”

Being a superpower is incredibly expensive. America’s massive and growing problems—epic indebtedness, impossibly expensive entitlement programs, unwinnable nation-building-type military projects—all stem from the nation’s having turned its back on the Source of its prosperity and broken His immutable laws.


America’s financial predominance is disappearing—and with it, its military predominance. Now, “the American nation is slated to go down even more suddenly than Great Britain to utter ignominy and loss of all national wealth, greatness and power!”

As the U.S. struggles to determine the best uses for its dwindling resources, one area it is scrutinizing intensely is Europe. For decades it has committed itself to helping defend the Continent and devote resources to the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance. In recent years, though, America has grown insistent that Europe step up and take responsibility for its own defense.

It has been taking steps to draw down its forces there; base closures on the Continent have saved the Army $8.6 billion since 2003. Of the 213,000 U.S. troops stationed in Europe in 1989, only about 42,000 remain. Plans are to shrink that number to 37,000 by 2015—and many wonder whether that reduced force will survive future trimming.

Even as Robert Gates has been overseeing America’s defense cuts, he has been vigorously lecturing Europe about how it needs to boost its military spending and upgrade its own war making capability.

National Debt

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