National debt: An issue we really don’t talk about enough (Opinion)

Courtesy ABC News

Something that we haven’t heard a lot about during recent presidential debates is how our nation should handle national debt. For those of you that didn’t know, national debt is currently at $19 trillion, and is climbing higher daily.

To clarify before moving on, national debt is different from the federal deficit; the federal deficit measures the difference between what the government takes in and what it spends annually. National debt is basically all the money that the United States owes. (Which if you haven’t already noticed, is a lot.)

The hope would be that our next president will take into consideration how to handle this mounting debt. This should be a priority. We as Americans consider ourselves free, but being indebted is essentially being in bondage. $19 trillion of bondage.

And on that light note, here are the ideas of various front-running presidential candidates on how we should handle this burgeoning issue:

Courtesy CNN
Courtesy CNN

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders :

  • Concerned about the long-term debt, but believes that other problems should take precedence
  • Tax everyone fairly, including corporations and the wealthy
  • Increase income and estate taxes to support federal budget
  • Reduce the defense budget
  • Invest in American infrastructure
Courtesy CNN
Courtesy CNN

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

Courtesy Business Insider
Courtesy Business Insider

Donald Trump:

Courtesy USA Today
Courtesy USA Today

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz:

Courtesy ABC News
Courtesy ABC News

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio:

  • Spending cuts and entitlement savings
  • Changes to the tax code
  • Reform Social Security and Medicare, include an option to purchase a private insurance plan
  • Supports a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution

As former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen said, “The single biggest threat to our national security is our debt.”