The American debt problem was almost entirely ignored at the Republican National Convention last week, and we can expect nothing more when the Democrats gather this week.
Both parties support the entitlement spending system and the decrepit tax system that fails to support it. They compete on the fiscal side of politics with impossible promises to spend more and tax less.
Imagine the U.S. Treasury as an airplane beginning to roll down the runway to take off. For a mile or so, the plane gains no altitude, then the wings start to generate lift. The wheels leave the ground and are retracted so the plane can fly smoothly through the air. Then the plane begins a rapid ascent, taking only a few minutes to arrive at an altitude of 30,000 feet.
For the time being, the Treasury is rumbling down the runway, already moving too fast to abort a takeoff. After takeoff, Americans will discover that Treasury debt is heading for the stratosphere, with consequences that are easy to imagine, hard to believe, and apparently impossible to act upon—except to make it worse.