FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
President Obama may be on vacation but he and his staff are rolling up their sleeves and getting ready to fight a backlash. This time it's over the skyrocketing national debt. The newest estimates add $2 trillion to the projections made in February and, if accurate, will bring the total national debt to $20 trillion in 10 years.
The National Debt Clock in midtown Manhattan shows that the federal deficit has topped $1 trillion for the first time ever and could grow to nearly $2 trillion by fall.
In other words, by the year 2019, the national debt is expected to double and will represent 82-percent of the gross domestic product. Unimaginable, unsustainable, and unacceptable. Those are levels not seen since World War II.
Tax increases, big ones, are probably inevitable.
Add in the fact that the President is in the midst of another battle - the one for health care reform. That's expected to cost another $1 trillion over 10 years.
So far, no one has told us exactly how that's going to be paid for. Support for the whole idea has been losing steam in the last few weeks.
Lawmakers from both parties are starting to concede that any bill that doesn't reduce projected federal spending on medical care and start to bring the national debt under control is unlikely to pass.
Some economists insist the two issues should not be linked. They say health care reform is needed now to reduce costs in the long run which would eventually lower the debt.
Pick your poison... Whatever the eventual outcome, September in Washington, DC should be fun to watch.
Here’s my question to you: How will the surging national debt affect efforts to pass health care reform?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Brian from Boise, Idaho writes:
Jack, I'm more interested in how a lack of health care reform will affect the surging national debt. When another two decades goes by and half of American families declare bankruptcy due to medical bills, imagine what will happen to tax revenue. The cost of health care is the single most crippling expense Americans will have to deal with as the baby boomers become increasingly sickly and begin to die off. Sorry if I sound insensitive, but we've got a generation hanging around our necks like an albatross and it's only going to get worse unless we can address the root of the problem - health care cost.
It really should not affect passing healthcare, Jack. The British went to a single payer system in 1948 when they were technically bankrupt after WWII and for all it's faults it's been a great thing for their citizens. Also, the costs of government medical programs like Medicare and Medicaid are out of control mostly because of the sweetheart deals former administrations made with the drug and health insurance industry, so unless this is corrected the country will go broke.
Mike from Syracuse, New York writes:
Hopefully it will kill it. The numbers never did work. Implement savings first. Once you have proven we can fund expanded benefits in a debt neutral manner, then and only then expand benefits.
The surging national debt will magnify the concerns regarding how health care will be paid for and will simply make health care reform more uncertain than ever.
Joan from Arlington, Virginia writes:
So now we care about debt? Two unnecessary, unfunded wars, eight years of corporate welfare, tax cuts for the rich, but oh when it comes to providing health care for all Americans we suddenly worry about the debt?
It puts the feet of Pelosi and all liberals to the fire. They will have a choice, pass their version and pay for it in 2010 and 2012, or fail to pass it and pay for it in 2010 and 2012. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. You've heard of a win-win situation, haven't you? This is not one of them.