NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Missing in Action: Growth

October 2, 2012

Surrounding debates over economic policies are two issues: the growth of the national economy and the growth of federal debt; however, neither is talked about together. Republicans tend to headline the increasing size of the debt while Democrats tend to headline economic growth. This approach is flawed and not conducive to coming up with strategies to curb the federal debt, says Steve Conover in The American.

It is necessary for lawmakers to look at the two issues side-by-side to assess the best policy decisions. The national debt is tied to the nation's economic growth; if the country experiences economic growth, the national debt becomes a smaller issue relative to the economy.

  • The federal debt currently sits at $16 trillion.
  • A 2009 budget forecasted a real growth rate of 4.2 percent by 2013.
  • However, that trajectory didn't pan out, but had it the deficit and debt would not be as much of a concern today.

With election season nearing the end, both sides are doing a poor job of highlighting the necessity of increasing growth to decrease the relative size of the debt. Republican policymakers that only respond to the state of the debt and deficit back themselves into a corner where they can only discuss what kind of spending cuts to make.

Democrats, on the other hand, ignore the question of overall debt relative to economic growth. Rather, they rely on their message of income inequality to appeal to the general public. Pandering to their respective bases, Democrats and Republicans are crowding out real discussions about increasing economic growth.

Source: Steve Conover, "Missing in Action: Growth," The American, September 17, 2012.


Browse more articles on Economic Issues