By Matthew Falconer
As blizzards wreak havoc in the mid-west today, and cancel the NFL game for my beloved New York Giants, there is a “white out” of another kind, a political and economic blindness in our leaders and elected officials.
And the blindness comes from both sides of the political aisle.
Republican Sen. George Le Mieux gave a stern warning to his colleagues Tuesday during a farewell speech; if you don’t stop out-of-control spending, you will ruin this nation. But Mr. LeMieux is a strong supporter of the Obama high speed rail program that will put our nation $1 trillion deeper into debt. He also supported Orlando’s Sun Rail program built on $300 million in federal debt.
Our “leaders” rhetoric does not match their actions.
I attended Obama’s address in Tampa when he awarded Florida $1.25 billion for the high speed rail project. It was in this speech he announced the “pay as you go” program designed to stop deficit spending. In one sentence he criticizes deficit spending and in the next he puts our nation another $1.25 billion into debt.
If the national debt grows at its current rate, the nation could find itself paying $900 billion in interest payments by the end of the decade.
“When that interest payment is $900 billion, this government will fail. And long before that time, the world markets will anticipate that and our markets will crash. This is not hyperbole. It is true. Not since World War II has this country faced a greater threat. Not since the Civil War has this threat come from within,” Senator LeMieux said.
Unfortunately Senator LeMieux is correct, but he and almost all of our elected officials are not willing to make the necessary sacrifices to avert this disaster. In late August the economists at Heritage released what they termed a “realistic” baseline budget for 2011 to 2020. The following conclusions are from Heritage.
- The annual budget deficit never is below $1 trillion and approaches $2 trillion in 2020.
- By 2020 half of all income tax revenue goes to paying interest on the debt and one-third of all government revenue goes to debt service.
- Interest on the debt will go to $1.2 trillion in 2020. It will go from 8% of revenue to over 30%.
- The spending and deficit trends are completely unsustainable.
While our politicians in Washington D.C. debate the extension of the Bush tax rates, they are completely blind to the problem they have created. Our leaders have put us into a debt so deep it may destroy our economy and our standard of living. And the only way to prevent this catastrophe is stop borrowing money; now. We need a balanced budget amendment and we need it now.
So instead of debating a bill that will increase our national debt by $800 billion they should lock themselves in a room and not come out until they have a balanced budget amendment. With a balanced budget amendment they can then prioritize spending programs. My guess is ethanol subsidies and corporate welfare grants will be a lower priority than social security. My guess is with a balanced budget amendment we will find many, if not most, of the government programs and agencies are not “essential.”
But the truth is until we draw a line in the sand, with a balanced budget requirement, we will never make those choices. I call on the 2011 Congress to make a balanced budget amendment their first and only priority.