Brother, Can You Spare $30,000 Per Second?

by Burt on March 2, 2011

The GAO (Government Accountability Office) released a shocking report this week. It showed the existence of $200 billion in waste in just some of our federal government programs. For example, we have 47 job training programs, most of which overlap and cost $62.5 billion. We have 82 federal teacher improvement programs and, in the midst of declining student performance, these programs cost $4 billion per year–and the Constitution provides no role for the federal government in education.

Some may ask, “What’s new? Ever since FDR, we have expanded the federal government and solved few problems. Yet life still goes on.” True, under FDR’s New Deal, the national debt doubled, and unemployment was still over 20 percent as late as 1939. But FDR only doubled the national debt from about $300 billion (in 2011 dollars) to $600 billion. The current cycle of expansion and incompetence is being done with annual deficits alone of more than $1 trillion. That number is now too large to sustain national economic growth. The U. S. future is in the balance.

Let’s put the issue another way: In President Obama’s proposed budget, the deficit (not the budget but just the deficit alone) amounts to $30,000 per second. For most people, that means that all of the money you pay will pay in income taxes next year will not pay for one second of the annual deficit on just one year of our national debt. No country in the history of the world has ever prolonged that kind of debt and survived as a nation.

The good news: For the first time in decades, there is much political will to make the cuts that will give this nation a future. Will the forces of fiscal responsibility prevail?

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