GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The national debt, which stands at over $16 trillion, is both overwhelming in scope and complexity.
Simply put, there are no easy answers or quick fixes to solve the deficit issue regardless of what you might hear in campaign speeches.
David Wessel, the economics editor of the Wall Street Journal, is the author of the book Red Ink, which is a readable explanation of the Federal Budget.
Those who are in their early 50s are often disheartened to read and hear about what could happen to their promised retirement benefits.
"The people who are going to be affected are people (of that) age," Wessel said. "There won't be enough money to pay the benefits that have been promised to you."
With the presidential election less than 60 days away, there's hope one candidate will produce a rock-solid plan to solve the impending crisis, but Wessel says that doesn't exist right now
"It's hard to say Mitt Romney's plan adds up. He hasn't put them on a piece of paper where you can see," Wessel said. "He says for instance he wants to lower tax rates and make up the lost revenue by getting rid of loop holes and deductions, but since he won't say which ones he would touch there's nothing to work on. President Obama's budget adds up in an arithmetic sense, but it isn't a politically sellable game plan to get the deficit down to a manageable level."
Wessel says the real issue seems to be a disconnect between the benefits people want from the government and the revenues people are willing to send to government to pay for it. He sums it up this way.
"I think many people believe and have been told by politicians that somehow we can solve this problem, but someone else is going to have to pay. Someone else is going to pay more taxes. Someone else's benefits are going to get cut and that's simply not true. We're not going to fix this problem without the bulk of the American people either paying more taxes or giving up something promised by the government or both."
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