Author: R, Alan Harrop
The current debt default discussion is a good time for us to take an honest look at the extent of the problem. Here goes. The total federal debt in 1993 was 4.3 trillion dollars, today, thirty years later the debt is 32 trillion dollars. That is a 744% increase. It amounts to $91,430 for every man, woman and child. However, since only about 150 million people pay federal taxes, it amounts to $213,000 per taxpayer. I strongly suspect that your income and net worth has not increased 744% in the past 30 years. If you took the national debt of 32 trillion dollars and stacked them up, the stack would be 2,584 thousand miles high or 11 one-way trips to the moon. Clearly, this is unsustainable.
The question is, what do we do about it. As Reagan once said: “The federal government does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.” Assuming our elected leaders are serious about stopping this reckless spending (which is questionable at best), here are some things that can be done: (1) Reduce the budget of all federal agencies by 5% a year, exempting the Department of Defense. (2) Eliminate the federal Department of Education, which has a budget of $87 billion dollars. This agency was started during the Carter administration and is not needed, since the states have constitutional authority over education. (3) Reduce the budget of the FBI by 50% and refuse to fund their request to fund a new headquarters that would be larger than the current Pentagon. This should include removing arresting authority (started in 1934) from the FBI and returning it to a strictly investigative body with arresting authority remaining with local law enforcement. (4) Eliminate granting welfare, and other social programs to illegal aliens. They broke the law to get here and should be identified and returned to their country of origin. Illegal aliens currently cost the taxpayers $151 billion each year, and that number is growing exponentially. (5) Implement a strict work requirement for any healthy person who is currently receiving welfare payments. Too many people are staying home and refusing to take available jobs. According to the Heritage Foundation, the average family of four receives over $70,000 in total welfare payments per year. (6) Stop weaponizing non-law enforcement federal agencies such as the IRS, State Department, Dept of Commerce, etc.
There are plenty of other places to cut spending, such as grants to various institutions. This represents only a partial list of what could be done and needs to be done before the entire system collapses. No sane individual would run their household budget like the politicians run the federal government. Much of this wasteful spending is initiated and passed to help politicians get re-elected. This is one of the main reasons why there is increasing demand by some for term limits. The Republicans in the House are fighting to at least begin the process of controlling spending. Let’s hope they succeed.
What is long overdue, is an amendment to the Constitution requiring a federal balanced budget. A Convention of States may be the only way this will ever be accomplished.