Many people don’t understand the difference between debt and deficit. I was part of the problem because I wasn’t informed of the difference either.
A budget deficit is the difference between what the federal government spends (called outlays) and what it takes in (called revenue or receipts). The national debt, also known as the public debt, is the result of the federal government borrowing money to cover years and years of budget deficits.
On Aug. 21, the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office updated its estimates for the federal budget deficit. The CBO now estimates deficits in excess of $1 trillion for next year and every year thereafter for the next decade. Twenty-one cents of every dollar the federal government spends is borrowed, and that will remain true for the next 10 years (the outer boundary of the CBO estimate).
These annual deficits add to the debt the federal government owes. As a nation, we owe $22.5 trillion as of Aug. 26, of which $6 trillion is owed to federal trust funds like Social Security. At the end of the decade, we will have added another $12 trillion.
The debt held by the public is now 78% of our nation’s annual gross domestic product. In 10 years, the CBO estimates, it will hit 92%, the highest percentage of GDP since World War II.
Is this the legacy we want to leave to our children and grandchildren?
Fort Johnson Road
Free speech caveat
Reading the Aug. 18 Post and Courier letter to the editor, “Free Speech,” I felt as though I was reading dystopian Newspeak right out of Orwell’s “1984.”
The letter refers to an executive order by President Donald Trump regarding free speech on campus. The order itself states: “It is the policy of the Federal Government to ... encourage institutions to foster environments that promote open, intellectually engaging and diverse debate ... through compliance with the First Amendment.”
The order goes on to appoint 12 federal agencies “to ensure institutions that receive federal research or education grants promote free inquiry.”
The letter writer correctly notes that the order “was endorsed by people who say universities are fostering an unbalanced, liberal view of the world,” and his letter makes it clear that he is among them.
The writer apparently endorses the withholding of grants from the federal government (Big Brother) to these wrong-minded universities, even the threat of which, paradoxically, stifles speech, and discourages the commendable “open, intellectually engaging and diverse debate” that the order purports to embrace and that has been a hallmark of academia for centuries. Stated more simply, the writer appears to be all for free speech, as long as it is speech he agrees with.
MAYNARD J. KLEIN
Island Park Drive
Charleston County needs to build a separate road to Oakland Elementary School.
At 3:10 p.m. on Aug. 22, I was on Arlington Drive in 98-degree heat with groceries in my truck and trying to get home.
I was stuck in Oakland Elementary School traffic for 32 minutes.
In the 11 minutes my car did not move, my ice cream melted and frozen food defrosted, all because parents were lining up to pick up their children.
Because there are no shoulders along the road, ambulances and fire trucks would be unable to get through the traffic.
Charleston County and the school district need to provide another road to Oakland Elementary besides Arlington Drive.
An Aug. 23 Post and Courier letter to the editor touched on several topics, including Rep. James Clyburn, public schools and gerrymandering.
The first involved a false accusation that Rep. Clyburn has done nothing to help his constituents. This accusation was prompted by a visit from a Democratic presidential candidate who addressed the state of public education in South Carolina.
The poor quality of education is a direct result of poor oversight, insufficient funding and inaction on the part of state legislators. Rep. Clyburn has the ability to vote on national legislation, but he cannot force the state to apply for or receive the benefits of any federal aid.
The writer was correct when he cited gerrymandering because South Carolina is indeed gerrymandered. It was done to limit the power of black votes following the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Perhaps the writer is helping the League of Women Voters as they try to take the drawing of voting districts away from political parties and put it into the hands of an independent commission.
Sea Foam Street