The bipartisan two-year budget deal enacted last week may lead to a federal government that functions without arbitrary, pointless showdowns for a refreshingly long period. But it’s impossible to disagree with the senator who stalled the deal — Kentucky Republican Rand Paul — when he says, “The dirty little secret is that, by and large, both parties don’t care about the debt.” The U.S. government is expected to borrow more than $1 trillion to pay for its budget deficit. In these booming economic times, it didn’t have the excuse it had during the Great Recession — that heavy government spending was necessary to head off a global depression.

Yes, the military and many domestic programs can use the increased funding coming their way as a result of the deal. Yes, disaster relief funding for communities from Puerto Rico to California will be very helpful. But our government should pay for these needs, not put the bills on the national credit card. Interest on the debt ate up 6.5 percent of the federal budget in fiscal 2017. With the national debt on track to go from $20 trillion to $30 trillion in 10 years, that percentage could triple. And if interest rates return to normal levels, this grim picture gets even worse. Debt addiction has consequences.

There’s a good chance our children and grandchildren will live in a diminished America as a result. That should matter far more than it appears to.

Editorial by The San Diego Union-Tribune

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