Thanks to Republicans in the Senate, the federal debt ceiling is about to rise by $480 billion. That ceiling always gets reached eventually, which means that $480 billion is going to be borrowed, to be paid back later with interest.
I guess next to $3.5 trillion — the amount the Biden and the Democrats want to spend on ‘infrastructure’ (like subsidized daycare, family leave, and community college tuition) — $480 billion doesn’t seem so big. But let’s compare it to another, more relevant figure: 330 million, which is approximately the current population of the United States.
Divide $480 billion by 330 million people, and you get about $1500 per person. Which is the amount that will be borrowed — just for this ’emergency’ — on behalf of every American. (Since many of those 330 million people aren’t citizens, and aren’t really on the hook for our national debt, the actual per-person figure would be higher. But why quibble?)
If you could just borrow $1500 for yourself, you could use it for something like food, or heating oil, or ammunition, or to repair your home or car, or something else that would actually benefit you. But what do you suppose you’re going to get for this $1500? How much do you want to bet that, whatever it is, it will require even more money to be borrowed later?