The current GSA scandal is continuing to make news in Washington with the headline that $820,000 was wasted on a lavish Vegas convention in 2010. Heads are rolling, cable news is chattering, hearings on Capitol Hill are ongoing, and most agree that “Big Government” has run amok.
One of the reasons why this scandal has generated such outrage, I believe, is the fact that everyone can wrap their arms around $820,000.
For example, according to the US Census the average sales price of a home is $272,900. So a home three times as much is $818,700, just about what GSA employees spent to party down in Vegas. Every functioning American adult can emotionally connect to the monetary value of $820,000 and even write out that number if asked.
Now, what happens when a “functioning American adult” is asked to write out $15 trillion?
Most likely many people would flunk that test by failing to put enough zeros behind the 15. The amount of $15 trillion is so off the charts it might as well be a gazillion, which according to its definition on Wikipedia is an indefinite and fictitious number.
So, for those unsure what $15,000,000,000,000 looks like, here it is.
Therein lays the problem confronting our nation during this election season.
For at this writing the national debt of the United States of America is $15,676,773,250,419. (increasing by the second) which is also a rather indefinite and fictitious number in the minds of most voters and that is most unfortunate
Even more unfortunate is most Americans are unaware that in January of this year a huge disgraceful milestone was reached. It was then that the amount we owed on our national credit card surpassed what our economy generates (gross domestic product), commonly known as GDP.
On a more personal level it would be as if your credit card bills were more than your annual salary.
Now, wouldn’t that keep you up at night? What should also keep our elected leaders up at night is never in the history of the world has a nation been in as much debt as we are now.
Also, I am quite sure that most Americans are not aware of this disturbing fact.
Now, since math education is such a hot button issue, I would like to propose a national math test that every American citizen must complete before being able to cast a vote in November. (Even MORE important than showing a voter ID)
The test is learning to write out $16,000,000,000,000 because that is the amount the federal debt will be in the month before the election.
$16 trillion should not be an indefinite and fictitious number to the voters in 2012. In fact, that number adds up to doom for our nation’s future and should be as familiar to every American as GSA’s infamous $820,000.
The second part of my proposed national test is for voters to take a hard look at what I consider the scariest web site on the planet.
That site is the US Debt Clock aka the ticking time bomb. Every American should be mandated to look at that web site and understand what it means to them and their children before being eligible to vote.
Here is a sad fact to note that I mentioned earlier.
The clock says our national debt is $15.6 trillion and our Gross Domestic Product is $15.1 trillion. Tutors will be made available to explain whatever part of that equation you don’t understand.
The third part of the national mandated voter test (most likely paid for by a grant from the Romney campaign), would be to make all voters aware of these three numbers.
Second is $15.7 trillion or what the national debt is today.
Third is $21.7 trillion, what the national debt would be on this day in 2016 projected out at current spending levels.
If only Americans and the media would get as outraged about these numbers as they are about the $820,000 GSA spent on clowns and mind readers at the Vegas convention, than perhaps we would have a national election that puts the “ticking time bomb” at the center of our national stage. Maybe even run it at the bottom of every news channel or feature it in a skit on Saturday Night Live.
Only then, if voters truly knew just how broke we are as a nation, perhaps we would all come together to solve the problem and the nation.
Be mindful of how the first step in solving any problem is realizing that there is a problem, which is itself a real problem regarding the debt issue.
For according to a recent Gallup poll only 11% of Americans think the federal budget deficit/federal debt is the most important problem facing our country today.
So perhaps the Romney campaign should start there. Beat this drum until every American voter is aware and outraged about our $15.6 trillion debt and actually knows how many zeros there are in that number.
Americans should also be mandated to look at that ticking time bomb of a debt clock once before they vote to reelect President Barack Obama – who just happens to be the biggest spending president in our history -- increasing the national debt by $5 trillion since taking office.