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If you have ten dollars in your pocket, you cannot purchase an item that costs twenty dollars. Seems simple right? This principle is called living within one’s means, or not spending more than you have. The idea is not complex, yet has perplexed the minds of many in Washington. Over the past several years, Americans have faced serious financial conditions in which they were (and still are) forced to save and spend wisely and cautiously. The American people have demonstrated an understanding of the value of a dollar. The United States government remains oblivious.
Capitol Hill stands at a crossroads where each member must make a decision whether to give the Treasury permission to continue borrowing and distributing money or to fix our spending problem. The national deficit is approaching $17 trillion. As a citizen of the United States, your “fair share” of that is roughly $53,504. Even worse, if you are a taxpayer, your share is $148,171. Something must be done about this outrageous spending addiction.
Let me take a moment to put our astronomical debt into perspective. Salaries for the President, Vice President, Speaker of the House and other Congressional party leaders, Members of Congress (including their average annual allowance), Supreme Court Justices and 460 White House staffers totals to $1,046,598,530 each year. That is one billion, forty-six million, five hundred ninety-eight thousand, five hundred thirty taxpayer dollars that are spent each year on government salaries. We must remember that this is only the tip of the iceberg as the federal government employs more than two million Americans, making it the largest employer in the United States (how many of these that are crucial is up for debate). When put next to the near $17 trillion debt, these salaries account for a measly six tenths of a percent of the national debt.
Since Christ’s birth, the world has survived for 2,013 years. If the United States Treasury was able to receive $20 million each day from year 0 to year 2013 to be attributed to the national debt, it would still be short more than $2 trillion. It would take another 275 years just to get the $17 trillion. But by that time, only God knows where we will be.
As a young person in our society, I am concerned by this development. The government of the United States is bloated. I have tried, to no avail, to understand the “big government” argument. With numbers like these, there simply is no viable reason for increasing the size of government. We cannot sustain this behavior.
Politicians in Washington, led by President Barack Obama are indulging in fiscal promiscuity like we have never seen before. When it comes to fooling around with women while in office, politicians are subject to public outrage. Why is the same outcry not present when our “leaders” sleep around with various pet projects? Because people are disengaged.
Many of you may be aware of my aspirations for public office. I am often asked why such an endeavor interests me. The answer is found in the preceding paragraphs. America is the greatest nation on Earth and has been for more than two hundred years. We are a people of great resilience and courage. Our ancestors fought valiantly in an uphill battle against the larger, more powerful British army to gain the independence you and I enjoy today.
Where is the resilience? Where are the men and women of courage that we sent to Washington, DC? Where is the concern for future generations and the country they will inherit? Where are the leaders that so boldly campaigned on fixing the economy? They are missing in action.
President Ronald Reagan sums up the problem nicely. “The nine most terrifying words in the English language,” he said, “are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” The former president goes on to say, “The government is not the solution to our problem, the government is the problem.” In 1992, Bill Clinton ran his presidential bid around the slogan “It’s the economy, stupid.” In 2016, I hope someone will take up this idea. No progress can be made until our fiscal house is in order and the government is downsized. Call in the clean up crews and let’s get busy.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Edgefield Advertiser.