By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Debt, deficit picture one massive downer
Placeholder Image

“It puts me in a bad mood, if you want to know the truth.”
“Ah, yes, you speak of recent comments by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, reported at He articulates America’s debt and deficit problems better than anyone in politics today.”
“You got that right. Daniels says the rate at which we’re piling on debt will lead to our ruin -- that no other outcome is mathematically possible.”
“Regrettably, that is true -- and so obvious, a fifth-grader could figure it out. Consider: When George W. Bush assumed office, the national debt was $5.7 trillion. He nearly doubled it in eight years to $10.6 trillion.”
“Some fiscal conservative he turned out to be.”
“In 2002, Bush was the first to propose a $2 trillion budget. In 2008, he was the first to propose a $3 trillion budget. In six short years, spending soared by nearly 60 percent! Now President Obama wants to spend $3.8 trillion -- nearly double what we spent a decade ago!”
“That doesn’t sound so good.”
“Sure, Obama inherited a horrible economy and high deficits, but the fact is he has grown our debt by more than $5 trillion in only three years. Our national debt now stands at $15.5 trillion!”
“You sure know how to make a man worry.”
“ABC’s Jake Tapper will surely make you worry all the more. He broke down America’s finances by comparing them to a typical family’s finances. If you remove eight zeros from Obama’s proposed $3.8 trillion budget, you have $38,000 in annual spending.”
“OK, I follow you.”
“The problem is we only have $29,000 in revenue. So we are racking up $9,000 in new debt every year.”
“That’s not so good.”
“Here’s what’s worse: We already have a $155,000 debt on our credit card. Paying off that amount of debt with $38,000 in income would be hard under any circumstances. But we’re not only not paying it off, we’re growing it by $175 a week!”
“You’re a real downer, man.”
“The truth is painful, no doubt. Daniels argues it is very possible that the U.S. can pass a point of no return. We could get to a point where we are so indebted and so bankrupt that the payments on the debt alone will eat up most of the budget.”
“So what do we do to get out of this mess?”
“Despite all this talk about taxing the rich, Daniels says there is no way we can tax our way out of our fiscal mess. We need to reform entitlement programs, such as Medicare, which are growing at massive rates, but cuts alone will not fix our mess.”
“Then what will?”
“Massive economic growth. We need policies that will unleash growth in America. We need broad-based tax reform to simplify taxes and encourage investment. We need leaders who aren’t afraid to lead. We need Americans to understand how serious our debt problem is. And we need them to press their legislators to come together to solve the problem.”
“Good luck with that. More Americans are receiving government goodies now than are paying for them. They want the gravy train to keep rolling.”
“That is certainly cause for worry. French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville predicted 176 years ago that ‘the American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.’ Haven’t we already passed this point?”
“Hey, after talking with you, I’m not in a bad mood anymore.”
“You’re not?”
“No, I’m in a horrendously miserable mood and worried sick about the future of my country.”
(Tom Purcell is a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune- Review. E-mail Tom at