What would happen to you if you had an annual income of, say, $50,000 -- but regularly spent $60,000 year after year?
You know "what" would happen. The only question is "when."
But somehow, many of our highest national officials seem to think they can spend, spend, spend, and despite imposing taxes that are too high, they can run indefinitely in the red, with no inevitable "showdown."
We began operating our federal government that way back in the days of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As he ran up huge annual deficits, he genially dodged the facts by telling us, "We only owe it to ourselves."
But don't go to the grocery store, pick up all the food you want, then instead of paying the cashier, just tell him that "We only owe it to ourselves."
And if you have a mortgage on your house, don't expect to avoid payments for several months, then tell the mortgage company that "We only owe it to ourselves."
In April, the U.S. Treasury Department reported, the federal government spent $82.7 billion more than it collected in taxes. That's 82, plus 700, then six more zeroes! That's "real money."
That $82.7 billion in red ink in just one month became a part of our total national debt of $12.9 trillion!
"We only owe it to ourselves"? To whom? To lots of people -- many of them overseas -- and to banks, etc. that eventually expect repayment.
In the meantime, they insist on payments of interest on that debt. How much interest? Well, it amounts to more than $400 billion of our tax money each year!
There is no pretense among officials in Washington of paying "off," or even paying "down," the national debt. In fact, we are increasing the national debt about $1.5 trillion each year!
Are we impervious to bad results? Well, Greece, for one current example, hasn't been able to dodge reality. Greece is in terrible financial trouble. Some of its European neighbors are so worried about how Greece's economic irresponsibility will affect them that they are putting some money into Greece to prevent its economic collapse.
Who do you think will be interested in bailing "us," the United States, out to the tune of $12.9 trillion?
Inevitably, with people, companies and nations, there are consequences. We don't want any of the bad results. But neither the president nor the majority in Congress -- nor most of us -- want to face the facts.
We can't run our family budgets that way. We shouldn't try to run our national budgets that way. Who wants to suffer the bad results?