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UT Tyler's student Megan Williams writes about the U.S. Debt Ceiling vs. U.S. Deficit in the Patriot Talon

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Clarence Edmond Shackelford aka "Shabba" and aka "M1Y", is a publicist, and the founder of Tour Tyler Texas and also the Texas African American Museum both programs are under the auspices of the Empowerment Community Development Corporation, which is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. By MEGAN WILLIAMS/Staff Writer of the UT Tyler Talon

Good job to my daughter Megan Williams for her article as a journalist for the Patriot Talon for The University of Texas at Tyler about the U.S. Debt Ceiling vs U.S. Deficit.
We are hoping she gets the paid internship for the Schertz Newspaper as a journalist this summer. - Rasheeda Chester-Arterberry
The national debt ceiling, as the topic of discussion for the past two weeks, has raised eyebrows and confusion. These are from the misconceptions and nuances the national debt ceiling (or as it’s often called, “debt limit”) and deficit receive in discussion. - MEGAN WILLIAMS/Staff Writer of the UT Tyler Talon

MEGAN WILLIAMS/Staff WriterPhoto byPhoto submitted to Clarence Shackelford

To put it in perspective, when one searches the U.S. debt clock they are met with a nearly $32 trillion rapid debt increase. The debt represents the total outstanding amount of money borrowed to help pay national bills. 

Annually, when the government spends over than it takes in, that creates a deficit. A deficit is an “annual shortfall between the tax revenue that the government has to spend and its expenses,” said Professor Susan Doty, an Economics professor at UT Tyler. The annual deficit on the debt clock is the $ 1,567 trillion that was approved from the previous year by Congress. 

We automatically associate this debt increase with additional spending from the government.  However, once Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling, the increased borrowing pays for already-approved spending, not new spending. 

National Debt Ceiling

Established in 1917, the National Debt Ceiling was created by Congress as a legal “cap” of how much the Treasury could borrow. The debt ceiling is the cumulative total from past deficits and surpluses since its establishment. The debt ceiling as we know is steadily increasing by the second. Every second the total amount borrowed increases; we must consider the interest owed.

Interest is the cost of borrowing money. Every annual deficit adds to the total debt, which increases interest owed. The U.S. interest owed is at a whopping $523,622 billion, which is viewable on the debt clock. The three big bills, along with interest owed, include Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, and Defense/War. 

Who Owns the Debt?

What I have learned is that when the government runs a deficit, two sources of money are considered: internal and external. Using internal sources means to shuffle money within governmental accounts, such as borrowing from the Federal Reserve system or Social Security fund. External sources mean selling bonds to individual investors or foreign governments. The bond is expected to be paid back with interest from the government, so think of it as a loan.  

The two kinds of debt owned are intragovernmental and public. The federal reserve, social security and other government agencies own 22% of the debt. Individual investors, institutions and foreign governments own 78% of the debt.

<img src="https://i0.wp.com/thepatriottalon.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Debt-vs-Deficit.jpeg?resize=489%2C280&ssl=1" style="width:100%;border-radius:10px;margin-top:0" data-caption="Photo Courtesy of LinkedIn.com" data-credit="Photo submitted to Clarence Shackelford" data-externalurl=""/>
Photo Courtesy of LinkedIn.comPhoto byPhoto submitted to Clarence Shackelford

When you think about that grand sum from the debt clock, that was from all approved spending made by Congress. If the government spends over for this year, we go into deficit, which adds to our substantial debt. When Congress adds a deficit, unfortunately it increases the debt ceiling. That is us spending over the budget, year after year, which creates a problem with bills that the government owes and has promised to pay. 

The Fiscal Ship Game

<img src="https://i0.wp.com/thepatriottalon.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/fiscal-ship-logo.webp?resize=623%2C374&ssl=1" style="width:100%;border-radius:10px;margin-top:0" data-caption="Photo Courtesy of The Fiscal Ship Game" data-credit="Photo submitted to Clarence Shackelford" data-externalurl=""/>
Photo Courtesy of The Fiscal Ship GamePhoto byPhoto submitted to Clarence Shackelford

If you want to challenge yourself with creating a balanced budget of tax and spending options over the course of an imaginary 25 years, check out The Fiscal Ship game. This game was created by the Hutchins Center at Brookings Institution and the Serious Games Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Remember that this game is not about decreasing the debt ceiling we incurred.

The game is challenging, but the goal of making good choices surrounding budget decisions — just like in real life– is achievable. 

Sources: https://empowermentcdc.org,
Info: TourTylerTexas@gmail.com - https://thepatriottalon.com/2878/2023/01/30/news/u-s-debt-ceiling-vs-u-s-deficit/?fbclid=IwAR1IiFwwR2XHfPj4XYqxlIh9vkOrBgY-6N8LlQcChgsV-OZmH383a1UEnDg

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I have been a community publicist in East Texas since 1985 in this role I have covered 10's of thousands of special events. I am also the founder of the founder Tour Tyler Texas and the Texas African American Museum

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