Can America cope with a debt that reaches to the skies?
Mar 25, 2011 | 834 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Our government is operating in so much red ink these days that the federal ledger is beginning to look like a slaughterhouse.

Congress has obviously forgotten that the last election was about voters being fed up about the spendthrift porkers in Washington, who keep squandering money they don’t have on just about anything and everything.

Unfortunately, the House Republicans, who were swept into office by a groundswell of public opinion opposing Washington’s big spenders, haven’t been able to—and in some cases haven’t wanted to—do a great deal about the sorry situation.

Oh yes, GOP members of the House have made $5.3 billion in cuts by slicing pork projects when they crafted two short-term spending bills, but a non-partisan Congressional Research Service report shows they left another $4.8 billion in earmarks unscathed.

“Many in Congress promised taxpayers a full earmark moratorium, not a half moratorium,” groused Sen. Tom Coburn, R.-Okla., a long-standing opponent of earmarks. “Protecting nearly $5 billion in earmarks from cuts sends the wrong message to taxpayers.”

The majority of funds that congressmen set aside for pet projects are defense expenditures, the report states. They account for $4.1 billion of the $4.8 billion that could be cut.

The Army Corps of Engineers continues to live out of funds from the pork barrel, and The Department of Transportation doesn’t do too badly on that score either. Thus far, it has $697 million in the same barrel, which is basically for federal highways and mass transit.

Jennifer Hing, a House Appropriations Committee spokeswoman, says the Republicans on the committee will look into why the House

GOP hasn’t targeted the special-interest spending at the Pentagon.

She explained the full-year spending bill, which would have financed the government through September 30, sought to cut $8.1 billion from defense, including some accounts considered to be congressional favorites.

And she pointed out the short-term spending bills also attacked spending bills from 2010 by stating they “shall have no legal effect.”

Unfortunately, even if the Republicans wind up paring every last bit of pork from the federal budget, it will only be a drop in a bucket in contrast with the $13 trillion-plus debt that’s staring the nation down.

The scary thing about such a debt is many Americans can’t even begin to understand what the enormity of it all means. It means that if every man, woman and child in the nation were asked to pay off the national debt, each single person would have to shell out $42,000. says it’s enough money to buy 34 million Rolls Royce Phantoms; or more to the point, if America paid $1 million a day, 365 days a year on the debt, it would take 36,616 years to pay off just the principle.

A trillion dollars, alone, is a staggering figure, especially if someone considers that by comparison a trillion seconds equals 31,688 years. Or, fancy this. A million bucks is a four-inch high stack of $1,000 bills; a billion bucks is a 358-foot stack of $1,000 bills, but a trillion dollars worth of $1,000 bills would be sky high—67.9 miles high as a matter of fact.

Sen. Coburn pointed out the danger a $13 trillion debt represents.

“Throughout history excessive debt has lead to the demise of nations,” he warned, noting that the $13 trillion debt really should serve as a wake-up call for Congress.

“No one will bail out America if we live beyond our means,” he cautioned.

Let’s face it. We once had a government of checks and balances. Now what we have is a government of mostly checks and deficits.