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The present national debt stands around $29 trillion. At the moment, Congress is discussing raising the debt limit, opening up further discussions about the national debt and its overall impact on taxpayers and future generations. 

Terence P. Jeffrey of CNS News, noted that 100,424,240 households filed a “taxable return” in 2018, which means they actually paid income taxes to the federal government. 

At the time Jeffrey wrote his article, the total debt stood at $28,908,004,857,445. When that debt was divided by the 100,424,240 American households that paid net income taxes in 2018, it averages roughly $287,859 per income-tax-paying household.

Jeffrey put some historical perspective to the overall debt numbers:

Back in 1989, the year that President Ronald Reagan left office, there were 89,178,355 income-tax-paying households in the United States, according to the IRS. At the end of January that year, the federal debt was $2,697,957,000,000.

Back in that time period, the federal debt was roughly $30,253 per income-tax-paying household. Even when adjustments are made to the January 1989 federal debt of $30,253 to reflect November 2021 dollars, it totals $69,437.

In real terms, the 2021 federal debt of $287,859 per income-tax-paying household is over four times the amount of the January 1989 amount.

Under the Biden administration’s fiscal 2022 budget proposal, the government will run a cumulative deficit of $14.531 trillion over the course of the next decade.

According to Jeffrey, slapping on this additional $14.531 trillion to the national debt would increase the burden on the 100,424,240 income-tax-paying households by roughly $144,696.

America clearly has a debt problem. While national populists shouldn’t make debt reduction their absolute priority, they shouldn’t promote reckless spending. The only type of spending that should be promoted is infrastructure —from upgrading the highway system and ports to shoring up America’s border defenses.

Populists should pragmatically assess the fiscal situation the U.S. is in and find ways to devolve entitlement programs to the states or phase them out in a gradual manner.

Maintaining this present course is a recipe for disaster and will jeopardize the livelihoods of future generations. 

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