As the United States grapples with a staggering national debt surpassing $34 trillion, which grows by further trillions every year, it’s imperative to address the root cause of this fiscal irresponsibility. Over the past century, we’ve witnessed a concerning trajectory, with the federal debt ballooning from $403 billion in 1923 to a staggering $33.17 trillion in 2023.

The fiscal year 2023 saw a deficit of $1.7 trillion, a significant increase from the previous year. This trend of escalating deficits is unsustainable and threatens the economic stability and security of our nation. 

A nation burdened by excessive debt is vulnerable to foreign influence and manipulation. It undermines our ability to respond to emergencies and threatens our geopolitical standing on the world stage.

It’s deeply concerning that the majority of congressional candidates in North Carolina are failing to sound the alarm on this critical issue of our nation’s skyrocketing debt. As representatives of the people, it is their duty to address the looming fiscal crisis and advocate for responsible fiscal policies. Ignoring or downplaying the dangers of mounting debt is a disservice to constituents and future generations. 

North Carolinians deserve leaders who are willing to confront the tough realities of our fiscal situation and work towards meaningful solutions, including the implementation of a federal balanced budget amendment. It’s time for candidates to prioritize the long-term financial health and security of our nation over short-term political expediency.

Such an amendment would require the government to balance its budget each fiscal year, ensuring that expenditures do not exceed revenues. This commonsense approach to fiscal responsibility is long overdue.

A balanced budget amendment would compel policymakers to make tough but necessary decisions to prioritize spending and eliminate wasteful practices. It would promote accountability and discipline, forcing Congress to live within its means and avoid burdening future generations with unsustainable debt.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to recognize that North Carolina is a donor state, meaning that it contributes more in federal taxes than it receives in federal spending. This disparity underscores the urgency for our representatives to advocate for fiscal responsibility at the federal level. Every dollar of wasteful spending and every increase in the national debt directly impacts North Carolina taxpayers.

The implications of an uncontrolled federal debt extend far beyond the confines of Washington DC and have direct consequences for the residents of North Carolina. As one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, North Carolina relies on federal funding for essential programs and services ranging from infrastructure investment to education and healthcare. 

However, an unsustainable national debt threatens to squeeze federal resources, potentially leading to cuts in vital funding streams for the state. This could hinder North Carolina’s ability to address critical needs, such as improving transportation infrastructure, expanding access to affordable healthcare, and investing in education and workforce development programs.

Additionally, the potential for higher interest rates driven by increasing debt levels could weigh heavily on North Carolina’s economy, impacting everything from home buying to small business expansion. In essence, the repercussions of unchecked federal debt reverberate throughout North Carolina, underscoring the urgent need for decisive action at both the state and federal levels to address this pressing issue.

The impact of an uncontrolled federal debt extends to North Carolina’s substantial military presence. Home to numerous military installations, including Fort Liberty, Camp Lejeune, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina plays a crucial role in ensuring national security and defense. 

However, a ballooning national debt threatens the stability and readiness of these installations. Budget constraints resulting from unsustainable debt levels could hinder crucial military operations, delay equipment modernization efforts, and undermine troop readiness and training. Furthermore, cuts to defense spending driven by the need to service an ever-increasing debt burden could jeopardize the livelihoods of service members and their families, as well as the communities that rely on the economic activity generated by military installations. As such, addressing the federal debt crisis is not just a matter of fiscal responsibility but also essential to maintaining the strength and preparedness of North Carolina-based armed forces.

Reducing the federal budget deficit and achieving true fiscal balance necessitates confronting the issue of mandatory spending, which currently accounts for a staggering 60% of the federal budget. 

Mandatory spending programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, are on autopilot, meaning they continue to grow each year without congressional approval. This lack of control over mandatory spending makes it exceedingly difficult to balance the budget solely through discretionary spending cuts or revenue increases. Ignoring the unsustainable growth of mandatory spending programs is not an option if we are serious about addressing the root causes of our fiscal imbalance.

To effectively tackle the challenge of mandatory spending, policymakers must pursue comprehensive reforms that ensure the long-term sustainability of these programs without compromising their core objectives. 

While borrowing rates for the US Treasury have remained historically low in recent years, it’s crucial to recognize the potential risks associated with a sudden spike in interest rates. Currently, the United States benefits from favorable borrowing conditions, with yields on Treasury bonds hovering near historic lows.

Given the sheer size of the national debt and the proportion of federal spending dedicated to interest payments, even a modest uptick in interest rates could significantly exacerbate the fiscal challenges facing the United States. As such, policymakers must remain vigilant and take proactive measures to mitigate the risks associated with potential interest rate volatility.

A dramatic increase in borrowing rates could have far-reaching consequences, potentially crowding out critical government programs and services upon which citizens, including those in North Carolina, rely. As interest payments on the national debt consume a larger share of federal spending, resources available for other priorities, such as infrastructure investment, education, and healthcare, may dwindle. 

Historical data underscores the significance of this concern: in the early 1980s, the US experienced a period of soaring interest rates, with yields on 10-year Treasury bonds peaking at over 15%. This dramatic spike in borrowing costs strained government finances, contributed to a recession, and led to a sharp increase in debt servicing costs. 

Critics may argue that a balanced-budget amendment could constrain the government’s ability to respond to economic downturns or emergencies. However, sensible provisions can be included to allow for exceptions in times of national crisis, ensuring that flexibility is maintained while still upholding fiscal responsibility.

It’s time for our leaders to put aside partisan politics and prioritize the long-term economic stability and security of our nation. Enacting a federal balanced-budget amendment is not just a prudent measure; it’s a moral imperative. Let us heed the lessons of history and chart a course towards a more fiscally responsible future for generations to come.