The conventional wisdom is that tonight’s third and final presidential debate will not involve any discussion of the national debt because the topic of the debate will be foreign policy. After all, the debt was not discussed much in previous debates that involved domestic policy.
But the debt is not just a domestic issue; it is also a foreign policy issue. Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Adm. Mike Mullen once said, “Our national debt is our biggest national security threat.” Former U.S. Controller General David Walker also frames the debt as a national security issue in offering questions the candidates should be asked tonight. CNN Money explains the concerns of Adm. Mullen and other military leaders:
The concern: If the debt continues to grow unbridled, the U.S. government will be constrained in its ability to pay for what it wants to do militarily and diplomatically. And it could limit the country's leverage with foreign powers.
A new infographic from the Concord Coalition lays out the fact that roughly half of U.S. debt is owed to foreign investors. The interest we pay to overseas creditors far surpasses what we spend on foreign aid.
There is room for a debt debate tonight. Voters at the Denver and Long Island debates we talked to made it clear they want the issue addressed. Our newest video brings you up to speed on what we know of the candidates’ positions on the issue…it’s a short video.
This is the last chance for the presidential candidates to debate the debt. Let’s hope they take advantage of it.
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- CBO Scores President’s Budget 05/17/2013
- Debt Ceiling Coming Off Suspension 05/17/2013
- New Report Shows Short-Term Gains, But Long-Term Debt Problems Remain 05/15/2013