Chris Zimmer – Columnist, Senior
Monday, for most, is the most hated day of the week. We rest up and participate in leisurely activities over the weekend to rejuvenate ourselves for whatever lies ahead in the following week. I love the quote from Carrie Bradshaw, character of the TV show “Sex in the City,” who said, “Monday is the perfect day to correct last week’s mistakes.” While many of us attempt to do this, it’s evident there is a small minority of the population who doesn’t: Our elected officials who represent us in Congress and in the White House.
I was saddened to hear President Barack Obama signed legislation that raised the U.S. debt ceiling on Monday, Nov. 2. The bill passed the House of Representatives 266-167 and in the Senate 64-35. According to the Treasury Direct, this legislation resulted in the amount of debt our federal government owes to increase by $339 billion. The U.S. government owed $18.153 trillion on Oct. 30 and swelled to $18.492 trillion the following Monday.
This came as no surprise, though. As they say, “History repeats itself.” When the Treasury Department lifted the debt ceiling in 2012, our national debt increased by $40 billion in one day, and $100 billion after nine. When the debt ceiling was lifted again in 2013, our national debt surged by $300 billion the following day.
The media was quick to label this as a victory for President Obama, but they forget to mention the loser: the American people. We, the people, do receive some benefit from the marginal $80 billion in military and domestic spending. Seniors don’t want to lose their benefits, and numerous employees in the public sector get to keep their jobs. But who pays for it? I want to echo what Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), said on the floor before the vote.
“The right’s going to get more military money,” he said. “The left’s going to get more welfare money. The secret handshake goes on and the American public gets stuck with the bill.”
Forbes estimates each taxpayer would have to shell out more than $155,000 each year just to get us back to the break-even point right now, and that number is only going to increase as we are expected to be $20 trillion in debt by 2020.
Our politicians are sweeping the national debt under the rug. The bottom line is our leaders are ignoring the problem instead of tackling it. I hate how pundits will make the argument that our country is and will always be a nation of debt, or how this won’t affect the well-being of our society. Debt is not necessarily a bad thing, but if it exceeds our Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—we have a problem. This has been the case since President Reagan took office in 1981. No wonder our taxes and the prices of goods and services increase. No wonder our dollar is inflated. No wonder corporations go through layoffs and send jobs overseas.
Some might say this nagging is hypocritical because I, like many, are attending or have attended school with the help of student loans and will more than likely purchase a house with the help of a mortgage. But can we, for instance, just get more cash from our computer printer whenever we need it? No. There is a double standard between the U.S. federal government and us citizens. We face the reality of living with debt, while the state does not.
This isn’t your stereotypical, conservative, satirical response of “Thanks Obama.” This is a plea to everyone in the U.S. to call out current Congress and White House administration for crippling our generation and those after us.