This past week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected annual deficits in this and the next fiscal year will near $1 trillion and that the U.S. will rack up more than $12 trillion in debt over the next decade.
There was virtually no reaction from the White House, Congress, or political figures of any stripe. The media also largely ignored the news.
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is trying to sound the alarm about the debt crisis and is seriously considering a GOP presidential campaign to stress the issue since no other candidates are.
Sanford also spent separate three-term stints in the House of Representatives. He was defeated in the 2018 Republican primary after running afoul of President Trump and GOP leaders over government spending.
In discussing the latest CBO forecasts, Sanford began saying the mounting debt is simply a deferred tax on future generations who will have to pay the bills. Then he stopped himself and warned that the current generation could well face it too.
“This is not just a next generation problem. There is a proverbial straw that breaks a camel’s back. We are growing ever closer to that moment.
“I believe we’re walking toward the most predictable financial crisis in the history of man. It is not something that will happen to the next generation, but it’s going to happen in the next couple of years,” said Sanford.
“Think about this: we will spend more on interest (on the national debt) than we do on national defense in 36 months. That’s not a kid or grandkid problem. That is our problem,” said Sanford.
Sanford says he cannot pinpoint what will “light the match that lights the fire” or when exactly that might happen. However, current government estimates suggest Medicare will go insolvent in seven years and Social Security will follow suit in 15 years.
For his part, Sanford worries that increased tariffs will be a recipe for economic trouble. He says trillion dollar deficits are always alarming, particularly so in during a good economy.
“The deficits that we’re running are being run in peacetime and relatively calm economic waters. You reverse the economic waters and the deficits explode,” he said.
If the CBO projections are correct, the official national debt will stand at $34-35 trillion a decade from now. Sanford says the real numbers are far worse.
“The Congressional Budget Office numbers are not real. Those are fairly conservative numbers. This is why a variety of different organizations, like the Committee for a Responsible Federal Government have said those numbers could actually stretch closer to $2 trillion a year in operating deficits,” said Sanford.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Sanford discuss why neither party is serious about reining in federal spending, what action he thinks needs to be taken to return to fiscal stability, and how he is deciding whether to run for president.