Deficit talk about real money

Deficit talk about real money

April 13th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

Some old-timers may remember the late U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen, R-Illinois. He was a colorful national figure for many years before his death in 1969, and he might be most remembered for a famous quotation that he denied ever saying.

As the legend goes, Sen. Dirksen's alleged quote lamented irresponsible federal government deficit spending.

One version of the oft-alleged quotation was: "A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."

Sen. Dirksen later explained: "Oh, I never said that. A newspaper fellow misquoted me once, and I thought it sounded so great that I never bothered to deny it."

That misquote seems more pertinent today, because in our current federal government spending, we are not talking about U.S. debt in the "billions" of dollars -- but in the "trillions" of dollars.

Our U.S. budget deficit unfortunately is on track through the first six months of our current fiscal year to surpass a trillion-dollars for the fourth straight year.

Had you been aware of that? Does it concern you that the Congressional Budget Office says it expects "us," the government of the American people, to run $1.17 trillion in the red for our budget year that ends Oct. 1?

Our national debt currently is more than $15.6 trillion, and is growing by the minute.

Did you know that the national averages out to more than $138,000 per U.S. taxpayer and almost $50,000 for every American man, woman and child? Does this sound as though the members of our Congress and our president are engaged in responsible financial management?

And, of course, the taxpayers have to pay interest on our debt as it grows.

So far this year, the country's total interest on our debt is a shade under $3.8 trillion, and we are still spending more deeply into the red.

Do you believe our president and our Congress -- and we citizens and taxpayers -- are doing "the right thing" in our federal government finances? Or are we just inviting more serious financial problems for our country and all of us as taxpayers by continuing to increase our national debt every day?

And we're talking about real money now.