If you grew up in America, chances are, at some time in your youth, your parents handed you a few dollars along with the message, "This is your allowance." You learned quickly that your allowance could disappear in a hurry if you a.) raided the local drug store for candy; b.) persisted in acting up at school; or c.) decided to talk back to your father at an especially inopportune moment.
As you grew older, you probably learned that you could buy something a great deal more valuable than candy if you simply saved your money. You knew it would take several months’ worth of allowance in order to buy that bike that you had your eye on.
However, this week, I have to wonder if the members of Congress grew up in America — because they simply have no conception of what it means to have an allowance. The U.S. Senate has now voted to allow our national debt to skyrocket to nearly nine trillion dollars. What does that nine trillion translate into? It’s actually $30,000 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. Just think about how many bikes your kid could buy with $30,000.
On Thursday, when this vote took place, it did not lead the nightly newscast that I was watching. Apparently, reporters see the national debt growing to monstrous proportions and respond by simply yawning.
I should mention the fact that this authorization did pass by a narrow vote — 52 to 48. Backers of the measure say that it will allow Uncle Sam to pay for the war in Iraq, finance Medicare and other large federal programs, without raising taxes. I certainly appreciate the fact that our lawmakers, in their generosity, chose not to raise federal taxes. But it comes as little comfort, when local property taxes and other government fees continue to rise.
In the past five years, the debt limit has been raised four times. That means that, nearly every year, the government decides that it will run up its tab — and you’re stuck with the final bill. Congress claims it has no alternative but to raise the debt limit, since the only other thing it could do would be to default on our national obligations.
I understand that we’ve been forced into a position where we have to devote much of our nation’s resources toward fighting a war on terror. And I know that, at one point, we were knee-deep in recession, but that seems a long time ago now. What I don’t understand is why we aren’t having a serious national debate about how to bring down our debt.
Also, you might be surprised to learn that foreign countries, central banks, and other institutions hold more than a fourth of our national debt — and the percentage is growing by the day. Last year, Congress was at least willing to curb Medicaid and Medicare, but this year — no dice.
The U.S. is suffocating under a mound of debt. We owe it to our children and our children’s children to get our spending under control. I thought that Democrat Bill Clinton declared an end to the days of tax-and-spend back in the ’90s — but, apparently, those good old anti-welfare Democrats have gone the way of the Yugo. There’s a new breed of lawmakers on Capitol Hill — and they’re determined to run our nation into the ground.
I’d like to think there are at least some people in Washington who know what it’s like to shop at Dollar Stores…who have relatives who drive ten-year-old cars…and who’ve had to work two or three jobs in the past just to get by. I’d like to think that there are some legislators who aren’t eager to ask the American people for a blank check for all their government goodie programs.
C’mon Congress — I had to learn how to get by on my allowance — why can’t you?