During this entire “shutdown” drama one topic continues to be brought up again and again: the national debt. Fiscally conservative circles are giving the Republicans a lot of credit for refusing to pass a budget that funds the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Their reason for this is a belief that funding the ACA will increase the national debt even further, which is true (since the United States is maintaining a deficit any additional spending will increase the national debt). On principle I agree that further increasing the national debt is a bad idea. Practically speak, decreasing the national debt at this point is meaningless.
The national debt is hovering close to $17 trillion. At this point the United States is insolvent. Putting this into perspective, this national has already reach the point many fiscally irresponsible individuals reach when they received a credit card with a high spending limit. The amount of outstanding credit exceeds the debtor’s ability to repay. No matter what the federal government does it will never be able to repay $17 trillion.
One must now ask whether or not attempts to curtail the national debt are meaningful. Honestly, I don’t think they are. At this point the government might as well buy anything and everything it can. Anything of value (that is to say, anything that isn’t perishable) should be transferred to another entity to protect it from seizure when the time comes to declare bankruptcy. If you’ve already overextended your credit limit you might as well go for broke and get everything you can.
I’m of the mindset that there is nothing that can be done to prevent the sinking of the Titanic. Instead, I’m focusing my time on getting to the life boat, loading as many people as I can onto the life boat, and getting the life boat as far away from the sinking ship as possible. Going below deck and trying to weld patches onto the gigantic hole of national debt is futile.