Food for Thought on the National Debt

We're all busy, but try to take some time to understand the National Debt and what we can do about it.

We’re all busy, but try to take some time to understand the National Debt and what we can do about it.

As someone who was a finance major in college, and having run a business for many years, I do understand, like most of you out there as well, a thing or two about debt. Of course this was a huge topic in the news over the past few weeks (and I’m not going to mention one of the most overused catch phrases of 2012 here). But the question remains, what are we going to do about it? How will our country recover? I know many people overspend (and over eat and over drink) during the holidays, but usually we recognize our excesses and correct them as quickly as possible. Unfortunately I don’t think a quick fix is available for the national debt. Over the holidays, I had several opportunities to spend time with my grandchildren, which had me thinking quite seriously about what kind of a country we are leaving to the youth of today. I am afraid about what might happen if we don’t make changes in our spending habits. It’s not easy even for grown-ups to understand, let alone explain. And then I got one of those famous emails that might help put the situation into a perspective that more people can grasp. Here’s what it said:

Lesson #1

US Tax revenue $2,170,000,000,000

Fed Budget $3,820,000,000,000

New debt $1,650,000,000,000

National debt:  $14,271,000,000,000

Recent budget cuts $38,500,000,000

Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget.

Annual family income $21,700

Money the family spent $38,200

New debt on the credit card $16,500

Outstanding balance on the credit card $142,710

Total budget cuts so far $38.50

Got it? OK, now…

Lesson #2

Here’s another way to look at the Debt Ceiling

Let’s say you come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood, and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceiling.

What do you think you should do?  Raise the ceiling or fix the problem?

This is just food for thought for everyone out there (my brother Brian does remind me at times not to be political in my blog, but this issue is very important to me). I don’t have the answers, and obviously neither do the politicians. But I do know that we just can’t keep spending and tacking on more costs and expenditures to every bill that comes up for debate. It’s up to us as constituents to tell our Congressmen and women what we want them to do. We all need to take the time to better understand the situation and find out what we can do to help prevent it from worsening. There is one such website, called Fix the Debt, which has a lot of interesting information.

Or you can go directly to the White House web page and start a petition of your own. It is your right under the constitution to petition the Government. And while many of the petitions posted are a bit wacky, who knows, maybe YOU will be the one to start a petition that will make a difference in the way our tax dollars are spent–or not spent.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

-The First Amendment, United States Constitution

Or you can write directly to your representative. Not sure who that is or how to do that? Here’s another link.

No  matter what your politics may be, I hope this encourages you to learn more about your role in effecting change in government. We can no longer pretend we don’t understand what is happening and hope that it will all magically be solved. For the sake of the future of your kids and/or your grandkids, please remember that your voice counts.

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