Dr. Bill Atwood

We need to hold the rascals accountable

This Sunday, Jan. 8, will mark a special time in America that will be ignored by the national media and most assuredly ignored by the politicians. Back on Jan. 8, 1835, our nation had zero dollars of national debt.

Apparently the government started borrowing the very next day. In the past 182 years, we have borrowed and borrowed and borrowed for a variety of things we could not afford. Both parties have been guilty of adding to that debt and they continue to make up more excuses, alibis, and explanations to cover their misdeeds.

Back in 2008, while campaigning for the presidency Obama stated, “The problem is that the way Bush has done it over the past eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank in China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents - number 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back - $30,000 for every man, woman, and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”

The late Senator Everett Dirksen is often credited with saying, “A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

During the past years of the Obama administration, we have heard about how he has cut the deficit. They keep telling us that they are cutting the spending and that the deficit is getting under control. I just don’t understand how they get to brag about cutting the deficit while they keep racking up more debt every single second of the day.

I understand that there is good debt and there is bad debt. It makes sense to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars when you are buying a new home. You have a place to live, you don’t pay rent but a mortgage, tax incentives exist, and you build up equity over the years. That is a smart move.

Taking on debt to pay for stuff you can’t afford but still want to enjoy is bad debt. Most of us have found ourselves in more debt than we should have because we bought things we really could have done without. The fancier dinner or the better computer, nicer vacation, or some other items are tempting but we could have done without them.

Our elected leaders don’t want to do without anything. They just spend and spend. I believe Reagan stated that the federal spenders were even worse than the proverbial drunken sailors because, according to Reagan, at least when the sailor gets drunk he eventually falls down and stops spending.

Understanding our national debt is very difficult because we can’t imagine the enormity of such numbers. At the current level of debt, every single one of us would owe $62,500. The almost $11 trillion Obama charged in our names added over $34,000. Frankly, he was right. It was irresponsible and unpatriotic.

When I look at the spending, I am astounded at the waste in the government from the $700 hammers we heard about to the multiple layers of federal employees that now fill governmental offices. Past first ladies had one or two assistants on the public payroll but Michelle Obama apparently has more than 20.

Governmental trainings take place far away from Washington and cost tens of thousands of dollars in air fare, hotels, food, entertainment and other assorted items.

We need to hold the rascals accountable. We also need to realize that there are many projects that are nice and would be lovely to fund. The problem is that we can’t afford them so the elected leaders need to say it won’t be funded.

Since 1964, when President Johnson stuck us with The Great Society attitude, the poverty level in America was 19%. After spending between $15 and $20 trillion dollars, we have reduced the level of poverty to 15%. Not a great return on our investment. It’s nice that more than half the welfare recipients have air conditioning, internet access, and cable television which means they live a rather nice lifestyle on our dimes.

I don’t mind helping others out. I do that on my own as do most of you. It’s called charity. However, when the government does it, it takes on a form of existence that is the closet example on earth of the definition of eternity.

When I look at a $20 trillion debt and the amount of money spent on the welfare expenditures alone, I see an example of a program that would be nice but we couldn’t afford it.

On Sunday just sit back and imagine the debt having been borrowed at an even rate over the 182 years. The federal government would have had to borrow $3,482.21 every second of every day since Jan. 8, 1835.

We can’t afford them.