Debt and budget deficits/surpluses are partially influenced by the government, but also largely influenced by what citizens consume, and the resources that companies extract, import and export.
America is rich in coal and natural gas. Yet we don't use the NG, and coal is becoming less fashionable in the new eco-friendly era. Cap-and-trade might ultimately leave coal as under-utilized as NG.
So we have a bunch of coal and NG, which we're reluctant to use, and meanwhile we import a ton of oil. Trillions have flown out the American window over the years, right into Iranian and Saudi Arabian pockets. It doesn't look good for the future of US debt, as I've said all along that government debt is largely a reflection of a country which is a net importer instead of exporter.
Meanwhile, US unemployment is currently sky-high -- and a lot of the job loss might actually be structural as globalization and out-sourcing continues. And the tea-leaves seem to suggest that it's impossible to forever sustain an economy based on revolving credit card debt and over-consumption.
I would feel sorry for America, except that amidst all the crises, we still insist on wasting gasoline in inefficient cars, driving huge pickup trucks down Texas highways -- right over the shale beds which potentially hold the world's largest NG supply.
I don't mean that as some tangential rhetoric. I mean literally, a large part of the long-term solution to US debt and unemployment is right underneath our feet. All we have to do is stop importing oil, put a bunch of Americans to work extracting NG, start driving US manufactured NG cars, and finally, export NG.
Of course, we'd need new infrastructure at gas stations so they can distribute NG. Hmm, cool -- even more jobs.
Cap-and-trade is neatly poised to incentivize a lot of these changes, but I strongly disagree with the global carbon policies we're trying to push on the G8. We should keep mining just as much coal (or more), use some of it ourselves, and export the rest. That means more US jobs, and more money flowing into the US instead of out -- while, not coincientally, moving away from consumerism toward industry and exports.