Debt, Debt, and More Debt

“[With the decline of society] begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia [war of all against all], which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man. And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.” – Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816.

When President Obama took office in January of 2009, our national debt sat at $10 trillion. Four years later, our debt is $15.73 trillion, the gross debt to GDP ratio is 103%, and in order to fully pay off our debt, every taxpaying citizen in America would need to cough up $138,466. Looking at these numbers, it’s hard to imagine why Democrats think raising the debt ceiling is just another procedural vote. To them, money grows on trees and is effectively inexhaustible. However, having $16 trillion in debt is a problem. In fact, it’s a fatal flaw that will ruin us if we don’t start paying it off now. I’m not here to say that we shouldn’t raise the debt ceiling; sadly, at this point, we don’t have a choice. With that being said, Republicans on Capitol Hill must work to get as many concessions from Democrats as possible. A chance like this cannot be wasted. The national debt ought to be Congress’ number one priority, and once again, the GOP has been given the chance to fight for those of us who don’t want to destroy America’s future.

Sadly, though, the uninterested political parties that currently reside in Washington don’t really seem to care. They debate on debt, then debate some more, then commend a sports team for winning a championship, then debate some more, and finally, do absolutely nothing. Congress is essentially one, big vacation where you get paid $174,000 every year to get nothing done. Personally, I’m just a little fed up. My feelings ring especially true for Democrats, who seem to be oblivious to the that fact that we even have a national debt. Although both sides are to blame, at least Republicans have been trying to solve this problem. Democrats, on the other hand, merely pretend it doesn’t exist. They seem content to continue kicking this can further and further down the road. Eventually, though, this road is going to end and nothing will remain.

As it seems, the GOP (as well as some moderate Democrats) is the only thing that stands between us and eventual financial insolvency. Liberals blame Bush for all of our problems (and yes, I do admit that his financial policies were mediocre at best), but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the largest debt increase ever followed passage of the most expensive budgets in American history. Remember that $800 billion stimulus package? Obama signed that bill, not Bush. How about the $800 billion healthcare abomination? Yeah, Obama signed that too. And those $3 trillion budgets? Obama’s. Someday, Democrats are going to have to start taking responsibility for their actions. I say it starts today.

Whatever happens, Republicans cannot leave empty-handed in this debate. If the debt ceiling is to go up, our debt is to go down. Of course, compromise is crucial; however, that doesn’t mean Republicans should just roll over and give spend-crazy Democrats a blank check for another trillion dollars. The debt ceiling must go up, because a default would be catastrophic. However, this is the time when Republicans and moderate Democrats must say that enough is enough. To keep our future bright, Congress must cut spending and put America back on the right track.