The Debt Crisis: Let’s just stop blaming people

I have just watched the BBC Three programme ‘Free Speech’ which focused on several main topics, one of the main topics was on debt, both government debt and debt in the general adult population. I was inspired to write a blog, so here it is.

It is obvious that debt is a serious problem, the government is sky high in debt, with it estimating that debt will rise to £1.5 trillion by 2016. This year alone the debt will rise by £138 billion and we will pay £44.8 billion on the debt this year, which is more than the UK’s defence budget and nearing our education budget.

There’s a lot of huge numbers when we’re describing the debt crisis, and I know personally how hard it is to fully wrap your mind around such massive numbers, like trillion and billions. However, the website http://www.debtbombshell.com/ is where you can see the UK debt rise by the second, a rather scary matter to witness. It also breaks down the debt into manageable numbers. The website states that the UK owes, £16,611 for every man, woman and child. This is equivalent of more than £36,458 for every person in employment. When you think that you personally represent over £16,000 worth of debt, and every person you pass in the street is the same it begins to hit home. Also, this year every household will pay £1,929, just to cover the interest on this year’s debt. I think these numbers allow the debt crisis to be more fully understood by those of us who aren’t maths geniuses.

However, it is not just the government who are facing debt issues, but also the general populatio
n of the UK. The government acknowledges that this problem is becoming more widespread, with the Prime Minister noting that more people under 30 are living with their parents than ever before. Indeed, 20% of British adults are in debt. This debt problem within the population compounds the economic situation that the UK is in, slowing the economy further and reducing the amount of growth. This in turn turns into a negative, vicious cycle as less growth tends to mean more debt.

However, what I think is the most important matter when discussing the debt crisis, is responsibility. What I have noticed, is that everyone has the tendency to blame everyone else when it comes to debt. The coalition government’s favourite phrase when discussing the debt crisis, is that it was the Labour Government who put us in this situation in the first place. The general population then like to turn the blame onto the government for their lack of policy about loan companies and their slow reaction to reducing the deficit and debt. However, nobody seems to be taking responsibility for the problem. It is not simply the government’s fault that debt among the general population is increasing. Times are hard, it means that sacrifices have to be made, not everything can be positive. Surely we should start to take more responsibility for our own lives and actions rather than blaming the government for what they are supposedly failing to do. At the same time, however, it is necessary to look after our country’s vulnerable (see https://louisepageblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/reform-needed-uk-benefit-system/).

I think that taking responsibility for the debt crisis, and the social and welfare problems that are having to be addressed as a result, is the first step in amending the current issues. I think we need to stop blaming institutions and people, we are where we are now, let’s accept it and try to move forward, working together as a country. Let’s face it, no government that has to reduce the deficit and debt, resulting in cuts in welfare is going to be popular. It is unfortunate that the government has to rely on being popular to be in office, making the difficult choices so much harder to make as a balance has to be struck between getting votes and support and facing reality.

So my conclusion is this. Let’s stop trying to place the blame on people or the government. Let’s get behind what the government is trying to do and let’s accept that dealing with the amount of debt the UK has is going to be a long process that cannot happen overnight, or, for that matter, in one 4 year term of government. I think, in order for there to be a serious and long term change in the attitude towards debt reduction in the UK, all the major parties need to commit to reducing the deficit instead of slandering and blaming each other.

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