--Senator Everett Dirksen
There is no trick being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
Wayne and Heather are young Brookfield friends who will soon be the proud parents of their first child. The second that tiny baby arrives he could be given a Federal government "bill" for nearly $28,000!
It won't be a delivery bill from the doctors and hospital. Thankfully that figure will only be around $12,500, without complications. (By comparison my wife's delivery bill was $25.)
"But don't worry, Wayne; that $28,000 bill won't be in your Brookfield mailbox."
What then is the mysterious $28,000 all about? Let me explain.
Let's pretend that in an amazing leap of faith President George Bush decides in one fell swoop to pay off our national debt. That figure is now up to $8.2 trillion. To do so every one of the 300 million plus Americans would have to write out a check to Uncle Sam for $28,000.
Of course we all know that President Bush' modus operandi is to add to the national debt, not reduce or erase it. In his first four years in office the president has borrowed more money from foreign interests than the previous 42 presidents spanning 224 years! This debt in fact may be getting worse. The projected National Debt may be nearly $12 trillion by 2011.
When you and I go to a bank to borrow money we have to pay interest. When the Federal Government borrows it too has to pay interest. In the 2007 Federal budget the interest on our debt--are you ready?--will be over $250 billion. A huge per cent of this interest will be paid to foreign investors, mainly from Japan, China, and OPEC nations. (What incredible good this money could do in this country!)
I'm just a simple country man but it seems to me that we are not only mortgaging future generations, but piece by piece we are selling or leasing America to the highest bidder...and in the process we are also selling our freedom and independence. In my simple thinking the US cannot continue to run our government on money "borrowed" from foreign governments and investors.
I guess I'm simply old fashioned--far out of touch with today's financial World. Growing up, credit cards were unheard of. Borrowing for anything was a major, very serious decision. Debt was manageable and quickly paid off. If my parents didn't have the necessary money no purchase was made. Doesn't sound very familiar any more, does it!
* * *
Growing up in the 1940's and early 1950's I seldom had two quarters rubbing together in my pants pocket. My family was by no means poor, but my lawyer Father seldom charged enough and his fees more often came in "dribs and drabs." Enough to get by--but not much more. (Like most wives/mothers of that era my Mother stayed home where she had a full time job with four children.)
So today when I read about these astronomical dollar figures I simply can hardly fathom the sheer enormity of them. Several examples (among many):
--$435 billion--the cost of the Iraq War so far. A daily price tag of $195,000,000 (Million). Enough in one day to build 195 libraries like the new one in Waterville. To "pay" for the war so far would mean each American household would write out a check for over $3,330.
--$411 billion Defense budget for 2006. (Up significantly since President Bush took office.)
Again I can read these amazing figures but as a simple country man I have to know the sheer physicality of a million dollars etc. I can best comprehend if I can put these figures in terms that I can understand.