Dithering on the Debt | Citizens Against Government Waste

Dithering on the Debt

The WasteWatcher

On December 16, 2009, by a vote of 218-214, lawmakers voted to raise the debt ceiling by $290 billion to $12.394 trillion.  This is similar to the limit that banks and other lenders allow individuals to charge on their credit cards.  Ironically, during the recession, millions of Americans received notices from their credit card companies telling them their credit limit was being reduced.  Yet, this Congress is expanding its credit at rates far greater than any time in its history.

As 2009 comes to a close, debt held by the public grew during the year by an astonishing 31 percent, rising from $5.8 trillion to $7.6 trillion, equal to 53 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or everything produced in the economy in one year.  This figure does not include the debt held (fictionally) in various government trust funds.

If Congress and this White House stay on this drunken spending binge and continue to do nothing to address their over-spending problem in a serious way, this debt is expected to rise to 85 percent of GDP by 2018.  Further, that debt will rise to 100 percent of GDP by 2022.

All of this information was released this month in a new report, Red Ink Rising: A Call to Action to Stem the Mounting Federal Debt, by the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform.  The commission is composed of the very government insiders who have presided over this ever-burgeoning problem, including several retired members of Congress from both parties who chaired committees with enormous fiscal responsibilities during their tenures, including seven former heads of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); seven former heads of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO); two former Comptrollers of the Currency; and a former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, who is also a current economic advisor to President Obama in the White House.

Politicians cannot continue to promise voters ever-increasing benefits covering all aspects of their lives without greatly jeopardizing the standard of living for future generations.  The massive national debt, which is supposed to nearly double to $19 trillion at the end of the upcoming decade, will eventually drain off such enormous amounts of tax dollars just to pay the interest owed that little will be left over to provide goods and services that are needed. 

Yet, despite repeated calls from the public to get spending under control Congress and the Obama Administration continue to serve up of a high-fat diet of bloated government and more spending.  Even legislation they deceptively label as healthcare “reform” only makes the problem of spending much worse rather than getting costs under control.  The only way to avoid a fiscal train wreck in Washington is for more taxpayers to demand that the politicians stop dithering on the deficit and debt and end their wasteful ways.

  -- Roger Morse

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