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The Looming National Debt Crisis: The Uncomfortable Truth No One Wants to Discuss

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As Republican candidates gather for a debate, the skeleton in the closet remains the ballooning national debt, a subject that’s largely been relegated to the shadows of political discourse.

While the candidates may briefly touch upon the issue and offer surface-level solutions, the uncomfortable truth is that addressing the national debt’s growing burden would require difficult, unpopular choices. Candidates find themselves in a precarious position, tasked with both solving the problem and securing votes, all within the constraints of a 90-second debate response.

Since surpassing the $33 trillion debt threshold, the United States has been accruing over $800 million in new debt every hour, adding more than $2 billion daily in interest payments. The most recent debt ceiling bill has suspended any cap on this debt until January 2025, casting a long shadow over the nation’s future freedom and prosperity.

Democrats have occasionally pointed to the “Trump Tax Cuts” as a driver of the deficit. However, the tax cuts did stimulate economic growth and resulted in record-high Treasury revenues, albeit without corresponding spending cuts.

One feasible solution begins with fixing the federal budget process, though it is by no means an easy task. Nonetheless, it would substantially rein in Congress’s control over the spending pie chart. A recent Heritage study revealed that only 10 percent of the $7.5 trillion in COVID-related spending actually went to healthcare. The remaining 90 percent, charged as overhead and other expenses, underscores the need for significant reform.

According to reports from Fox News, while the discretionary budget, including debt interest payments and defense spending, constitutes less than 25 percent of overall expenditures and continues to shrink, the true driver of federal deficits lies in mandatory, programmatic spending. These are expenditures Congress does not address annually but continues unabated.

Furthermore, they encompass popular transfer programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, student loans, and healthcare initiatives like Obamacare, among countless others. Altering these programs involves a political third rail, a risk few presidential candidates are willing to take.

Mandatory, programmatic expenditures are perpetual and don’t undergo annual scrutiny or adjustment. There is virtually no constituency for tackling these fundamental issues, despite their role as the primary drivers of the nation’s fiscal challenges.

Many citizens believe that trimming discretionary spending, such as congressional salaries or foreign aid, or rooting out “waste, fraud, and abuse,” can resolve the debt problem. While these are valid concerns, the real target for reform should be mandatory, programmatic spending to ensure the sustainability of essential programs.

The Republican candidates vying for the nomination face a daunting question: Who among them possesses the courage and leadership to make the unpopular decisions necessary to restore fiscal responsibility to the nation’s future?

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats seem unlikely to embrace responsible spending as part of their agenda, leaving the issue largely unaddressed in their political DNA.

In a political landscape dominated by divisive issues and partisan debates, the national debt looms as the silent crisis that few are willing to confront.

The path to fiscal responsibility requires acknowledging the harsh reality that popular programs must also be on the table for reform. Only then can America hope to secure a stable financial future for its citizens.

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Nation

House Speaker Mike Johnson Vows to Take Legal Action After DOJ Declines to Prosecute Merrick Garland

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House Speaker Mike Johnson expressed disappointment on Friday over the Justice Department’s (DOJ) decision not to prosecute Attorney General Merrick Garland after the House voted to hold him in contempt for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena. Johnson announced plans to take the subpoena to federal court and certify the contempt reports.

The DOJ stated that Garland’s refusal to comply with the subpoena, which instructed him to turn over an audio recording of President Joe Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur, did not “constitute a crime.” This decision follows the GOP-led House’s vote on Wednesday to hold Garland in contempt, passing the resolution with a 216–207 vote.

“The House disagrees with the assertions in the letter from the Department of Justice,” Johnson wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “As Speaker, I will be certifying the contempt reports to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. It is sadly predictable that the Biden Administration’s Justice Department will not prosecute Garland for defying congressional subpoenas even though the department aggressively prosecuted Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro for the same thing.”

Johnson criticized the DOJ’s decision as “another example” of what he perceives as the Biden administration’s two-tiered system of justice. He emphasized that the House would pursue the enforcement of the subpoena against Garland in federal court. The contempt order was issued after President Biden invoked executive privilege over the tapes, though Congress has received a transcript of the interview.

In a statement following the House’s contempt vote, Garland blasted the decision, accusing House Republicans of weaponizing their power for partisan purposes. “Today’s vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the Justice Department’s need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the Committees,” Garland stated. “I will always stand up for this department, its employees, and its vital mission to defend our democracy.”

The Justice Department’s refusal to prosecute Garland underscores ongoing tensions between the executive branch and the GOP-led House. The situation reflects broader disputes over congressional oversight, executive privilege, and the handling of classified information.

As Speaker Johnson moves forward with legal action, the outcome could set significant precedents for the balance of power between Congress and the executive branch. The decision to pursue enforcement of the subpoena in federal court will be closely watched, as it may influence future interactions between legislative investigators and executive officials.

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