America’s own great wall

Obama’s policymaking has run into a massive barricade: the national debt.

President Barack Obama wrapped up his trip to China with a stop at the Great Wall, remarking âÄúit reminds you âĦ that our time here on Earth is not that long, so we better make the best of it.âÄù Poignant words after meeting with the financiers of AmericaâÄôs growing $12-trillion great wall of debt. China has become our single largest foreign creditor, controlling 6.7 percent of American debt. Congress will soon have to raise the statutory debt limit for the second time in a year due to ongoing deficit spending. Although these debts as a percentage of the economy are less than historical highs, there seems to be no plan to stop the geyser of red ink. As a reassuring gesture to his Chinese hosts, Obama notified domestic agencies to prepare budgets with 5-percent spending reductions before departing. This is an obvious first step; any organization of the size and scope of the federal government can find savings and increase efficiency when pressed. Though such tinkering cannot possibly bring revenues and spending into balance, slashing spending or spiking taxes would further weaken an already battered economy. Once a more stable foundation has been restored, many difficult options must be considered: cuts to corporate farm subsidies, reforming MedicareâÄôs perverse payment structure, reducing mortgage interest deductions and ultimately the establishment of some top-heavy tax increases. The presidentâÄôs time may be short, but his inherited legacy of debt should not be allowed to become an even greater burden for future generations.