In two short years, the $1.6 trillion federal deficit and the $14.2 trillion national debt have moved from the wonk rooms to the front pages. Americans have awakened to the idea that skyrocketing debt might be as great a threat to national security as a terrorist plot.
Unfortunately, the nation’s credit crunch has generated a surplus of heat and a deficit of light, more polarized sound bites than economic analysis. How big is our debt? What does it mean for our economy? How drastic are the solutions? “We’re not going to solve this in a partisan fashion,” says Tom Gilligan, Dean of the McCombs School of Business.
In this four-part series, reporter Steve Brooks talks to McCombs faculty members to get the scoop on the government’s shortfalls. He discovers that the red ink might be even deeper than you thought. He traces the bipartisan history of the crisis. He details how government debt is starting to affect American business. He concludes with some good news: The deficit is deflatable. Here’s how to do it.