Being Right: The Debt Matters



Matthew Eichel

$15,428,317,041,483.73. Wrap your head around that monstrosity. As of around 9:30 p.m. on February 20, this was the national debt that faced our government, our people and our country. It continues to grow. Since 2007 (the final year of George W. Bush’s presidency), it has increased on average by $4 billion each day. Does that seem problematic to you? Unfortunately, many individu­als don’t find it to be an issue. For example, Democratic strategist and Fox News analyst Bob Beckel told Bill O’Reilly of The O’Reilly Factor last Monday that he thinks that the debt doesn’t matter at all. Beckel and the many individuals like him think that the debt will have no consequences. To them, $1 trillion dollars is worth about as much as a horse’s behind. President Obama seems to agree with this sentiment, and his plans for the future will make things much worse. On Monday, February 13, President Obama released his budget plan for the 2013 fiscal year. Obama seems focused on gather­ing support for his re-election bid rather than helping his country. He keeps putting off addressing the main issues that face this country until after the election. The budget plan contains much of the same old garbage Obama has been pushing for since he has been elected, namely increased spending on construction projects. Obama claims that the construction projects as well as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts will create jobs. The expiration of the tax cuts would lead to tax increases that would have devastating effects across the board. Even with these tax increases factored in, the plan is still estimated to add about another $1.5 trillion to government spending. To pay for increased spending, Obama continues to call for the adoption of the so-called “Buffet Rule,” a rule requiring those who make more than $1 million per year to pay a federal income tax at the rate of 30 percent. Putting aside the argument that the Buffet-Rule is nonsensical given that the top one percent work just as hard and often times harder for their money as the 99 percent, the Buffet-Rule won’t work because the answer to our problems is not more spending and tax increases. Increased spending did not help pull the country out of depressions in the past and it won’t work now. What we desperately need is not to increase spending, but to cut spending.

Obama’s budget plan does nothing to tackle the beast that is entitlement spending. We need to reform Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. We cannot finance these programs as they are cur­rently structured; we will just continue to rack up more and more debt. To think we haven’t even factored in the effects that Obamacare will have on the fiscal situation once its policies become en­acted in 2014. According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, spending on entitlement programs will grow to about 16 percent of GDP by 2035 as spending on other areas (i.e. military, domestic discretionary) will decrease. This is a problem. Obama’s own Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, even called the proposed budget “unsustainable” in a conference with the Senate Budget Committee. Former Director of the Office of Management and Budget and current Re­publican Senator from Ohio Rob Portman performed a study which projects that the proposed plan will lead to the country hitting the debt ceiling of $16.394 trillion by around mid-October.

I might be mistaken, but I don’t believe this is an example of Obama taking action to address this country’s fiscal issue as he pledged to do after we hit the debt ceiling last August. Due to these issues, this budget plan will not and should not be passed by Congress. For the fourth straight year, we will most likely be without a budget. This is why a balanced budget amendment may be necessary. Something has to restrict government from spending more than it takes in.

One final point: To those who believe that the deficit doesn’t matter, just look at what is go­ing on in Greece. About 25 percent of the Greek workforce works for the government. Violent protests are now going on throughout the country because the government simply cannot afford the salaries and entitlement benefits it promised. If our government doesn’t stop spending, our country may end up going down the same path. We desperately need to cut entitlement spending. Otherwise, people will begin rioting in this country over economic issues. There will be people so dependent on receiving benefits from the government that they will be wallowing in their own feces because they can’t afford anything if our country goes bankrupt and cannot cover entitle­ments anymore. This country should strive for success, not failure. If we cannot elect someone in November who can understand this, we are doomed.

Contact Matthew Eichel at [email protected]