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Back Away From the Buffet

1.9 trillion is an amazing number. It is almost impossible to relate to. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a trillion of anything. But I am sure that it represents a ridiculously large amount of money. Since it’s so hard to wrap your mind around, lets put it in some perspective. With $1.9 trillion dollars we could:

  • Have 33,000 times the net worth of Bill Gates.
  • Go into McDonalds and buy 2.5 trillion hamburgers,
  • Purchase 1.9 million of Jerry Jones’ new state of the art football stadiums
  • Send 270,655,270 kids to public universities on a full scholarship
  • Buy 20,357,130 thirty-second Super Bowl ads
  • Build and purchase homes for more than 11 million families
  • Give $6,000 to every person in the United States

1.9 trillion is simply an astounding sum. It is the equivalent of spending $61,000 PER SECOND for an ENTIRE YEAR! But this is exactly how much Congress has just voted to raise the debt limit by. Moreover, simply stating the figure they are raising the debt limit by risks masking the true national debt figure – $14.3 trillion, or about $40,000 for each man, woman, and child in the United States.

Congress is acting like a greedy teenager that has no shame in maxing out their credit cards. But unlike the average citizen who is brought down to earth with a “CARD DECLINED” signal, the federal government keeps on spending freely. As Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said ,

“We have gone to the restaurant. We have eaten the meal. Now the only question is whether we’ll pay the check. . . We simply must do so.”

Ok. Well this must’ve been an all you can eat buffet because the government has gorged over the past year on a Wall Street bailout, a stimulus plan, and a marked increase in the size of the federal bureaucracy. But now it’s time to back away from the trillion dollar Twinkies and go on a fiscal diet. Sadly, and despite recent protestations from Barack Obama, Congress is unlikely to make the wholesale changes necessary to stop the spiraling debt figure. As Andrew Taylor of the Associated Press writes ,

“Less than a decade ago, $1.9 trillion would have been enough to finance the operations and programs of the federal government for an entire year. Now, it’s only enough to make sure Democrats can avoid another vote before Election Day.”

But $1.9 trillion should be more than a stopgap. It should be the end of a line. As Ron Paul predicted back in 2004 after Congress had just voted raise the ceiling $800 billion,

“Does anyone really believe this will be the last time, that Congress will tighten its belt if granted one last loan? What a joke! There is only one approach to dealing with an incorrigible spendthrift: cut him off.”

So we must cut them off. Come November we must vote for real change, not simply more promises to be better next year. We, the young people of America, simply can’t afford more promises. Eventually this debt limit will be ours and it will be our responsibility to pay it down. We are not the one’s incurring the debt but we will be the one’s paying for it. So let us make our voices heard. Let’s cut off the spendthrifts who over the past year have sunk us further into debt than ever before.

Not scared yet? Check out: http://www.usdebtclock.org/

- Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee

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