published Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Good news! (And bad)

We are a fortunate people and a fortunate country, with a great, productive economy. That economy has given Americans an exceptionally high standard of living throughout our history.

Our “gross domestic product” — everything we produce in goods and services in a year — comes to nearly $15 trillion!

Isn’t that wonderful?

While we rejoice about that fact, and what it means to the American people, we hesitate to mention a negative. But it’s something we ought to know, and consider seriously: While our GDP for a year is nearly $15 trillion, what do you think our total national debt is?

The unpleasant fact is that our national debt is not very far shy of $15 trillion as well.

It is above $14 trillion — and mounting daily!

So what if we had to pay off all of our national debt (much of it owed to foreign countries) right away? Well, fortunately, we don’t have to pay it off all at once — but if we did, it would take nearly everything all of us produced in goods and services for a whole year!

Meanwhile, we do have to pay interest on all that borrowed money. How much is that? It was $414 billion in fiscal year 2010 alone!

Where does all that money to pay just the interest come from? You guessed it: It comes from us taxpayers! That means we have to pay $414 billion a year that is not available for our personal and family use — or even for other, more legitimate governmental purposes.

Well, since we aren’t reducing our national debt, what are we doing about it, in addition to paying taxes to cover interest on it?

The sad fact is that we are increasing our debt. It is expected to go up more than $1.6 trillion just this year! And that increases the interest payments.

Do you believe our previous elected officials in Washington have managed well? Do you believe President Barack Obama and a majority in our Congress are managing well now?

It’s painful enough to acknowledge that each of us already is on the hook for more than $45,000 of the debt. But even with recent slight budget cuts, Congress has failed to rein in red-ink spending significantly.

There is, unfortunately, no painless solution. But don’t you think we should tell the president and Congress to quit making it worse?

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bookworm said...

Please! Free Press, you continue to miss the whole point! Of coarse I fully agree with you that we need to reduce to deficit. But making cuts in programs for the poor misses the boat. You can cut all you want on discretionary spending and crow to the Tea Party, but you won't even begin to reduce the deficit.
First, we need to grandfather changes to Social Security and medicare, by gradually over the next 30 years increasing the age to as high as 69 or 70. Then at the same time to protect people, allow them who can't get a job starting at age 55, to buy into Medicare. Second, just think how much our bloated military increases the deficit. How many Trident subs and B-2 bombers do we need. Who is going to attack us? We need finally to realize the power of the military industrial complex. Also, the idea of large standing armies in foreign countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan is an obsolete vision. american taxpayers cannot afford to police the world, and morally we have no business doing it.

March 6, 2011 at 6:36 a.m.
holdout said...

The high priced weapons systems should be cut. You realize that the argument of, "who is going to attack us?" can be answered with, "no one... while we have those systems". I still believe there is room for cutting. But those systems cost far less than money spent on personnel. The largest cost of the DOD is pay and benefits for military and DOD, DOA, DOAF, and DON people. Well over two thirds of the budget is pay and benefits. Closing down our military bases and posts in foreign countries and drawing down the numbers of military and support people would save far more than cutting systems. Fewer people means fewer systems. No foreign bases means nothing to defend there. That equals fewer people and systems as well. But all areas that the government spends money needs to be cut with the same gusto. It is going to take decades to get out of this hole and saying that we need to keep spending on anything is short sighted and will doom the economy. Before long the dollars the poor receive will be worthless paper. Then they will have to work hungry or not work and starve. And that is the fate we are all facing. Get real and stop making excuses for ANY government spending.

March 6, 2011 at 9:51 a.m.
Francis said...

"who's going to attack us?" can't be that dumb. ever read the news?

the first job of the federal government is to defend us...defend us from those who want to destroy us, whether they be terrorists or countries.....defend our borders..

only a fool believes that in a world, (yes even in the year 2011), governed mostly by the rule of force is it ok to let down our guard.....foolish..very foolish..

ever heard of china..or iran..or venezuela...and so on?

March 6, 2011 at 6:58 p.m.
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