Public learns how they're paying for national debt

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - When you open up your paycheck and see all those deductions or when you pay your taxes you should be reminded of the role you play in paying off the national debt.

The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to teaching the public about national debt and budget deficit issues is making the complicated topic a bit more clearer for university students and the Nacogdoches community.

Jeff Thiebert is the organization's national grassroots director. He was at Stephen F. Austin State University giving students one more thing to think about. He told them they're inheriting the national debt. "And ultimately, who is going to bear the burden of this? You guys," Thiebert said before a classroom of political science and economic majors.

Thiebert teaches people their pay check and future revolve around the nation's outstanding bills. This morning, the USA owed over 12.8 trillion dollars.

"It's important for them to know they have a place in this budget. They have a place in this economy and as their work-life progresses, they're going to face some challenges, " Thiebert explained.

The challenges are worrisome for some. "My generation terrifies me," Erika Purdy, a political science major expressed. "They just want to put it off and they want to keep shifting it to the next generation."

That's something Thiebert says the nation can no longer afford. The options are pretty basic. " We're going to have to increase taxes, cut spending or borrow, borrow, borrow."

Economic major Brian Jett, is about to graduate. After today's lecture he's thinking more about retirement rather than his first job. "We're going to need to be educated about the subject and we're going to have to be willing to make some sacrifices, some changes," said Jett. "I'm conservatively optimistic," he added.

The dialogue and the designated "Debt Week" on campus is encouraging students to watch the clock on the nation's debt and accept the possibility of higher taxes to help bring it down.

The Student Government Association displayed posters on the grounds reminding students about the trillion dollar debt. They also serve as a stark reminder of an uncertain future.

"My future?," Travis Harding said with a questionable tone. "I try not to worry about it. I have the power to get things done and I'll try for that."

With that attitude, perhaps this can be the last generation to inherit such a nasty debt.

This week is designated as 'Debt Week' at SFA. A series of events is helping the public and the students better understand the national debt. Wednesday night, the non partisan organization, 'Public Agenda' will discuss health care reform and the national debt. It begins at 7 p.m.  in SFA's Twilite Ballroom.

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