Drowning in Red Ink

This month, our country reached a staggering milestone – the national debt topped $13 trillion.  To put that in perspective, if you were to spend $1 per second, it would take you about 412,000 years to rack up $13 trillion in debt.  While the median income per person in 2004 was $23,535, each American taxpayer’s share of the national debt is $118,500.

Even more troubling, if President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 is followed, it would add an additional $1.3 trillion to our debt by September 30, 2011.  This would increase our total national debt to $14.3 trillion – roughly equal to the size of our nation’s entire economy.  Once we reach the point where we owe as much or more than we are able to earn in one year, the United States could fall into some of the same problems we are seeing now in Greece, Portugal, and Spain.

This leads to one very clear, very simple fact: we must learn to live within our means or else we will find ourselves drowning in red ink.

The good news is I truly believe that if we can get a grip on spending in Washington, we can maintain prosperity for future generations.  The first step is to put a stop to the ridiculous idea that spending borrowed government money will somehow grow our economy.  It’s simply not true.  If a $700 billion bailout and a $800 billion so-called stimulus package can’t pull results in even higher unemployment and a stagnant economy, then we should all be able to agree it just did not work.  Instead, we should focus on growing private sector jobs through tax cuts for small businesses and incentives to companies for new hires.  These have proven time and time again to result in real, long-term success.

Next, we need leaders in Washington to come up with real solutions for dealing with our very serious spending problem.  Covering your eyes while you write a rubber check and pretending it won’t bounce can no longer be an option.   This won’t be easy and will require a lot of willpower and willingness to rethink the way our federal government operates.  But I know that if my colleagues and I in Washington will just roll up our sleeves and get to work, we can really make a difference. 

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