No matter when you think out of control spending began, you cannot deny that the national debt has reached catastrophic proportions. Since I can remember, my father has warned me that the longer my generation ignores the mounting debt in America, the more it is going to fall on our shoulders. Well, I would first like to personally thank previous generations for their contribution to the destruction of my savings account. Then, I would like to confront the problem before it does “lead to chaos,” as Rand Paul warned in his victory speech after winning the Primary Republican Senate Election in Kentucky.
As the national debt reaches astronomical proportions, it has become impossible to ignore. The fourth branch of government, “We the people,” has finally stepped up to hold those who recklessly spent billions of America’s dollars responsible. Paul said, “The tea party movement is about saving the country from a mountain of debt that is devouring our country.” Thank you tea party, I only wish you had shown up sooner.
Megan Barth, Vice President of Business Development for Red County and Tea Party activist, says “Right now the debt is at about $13 Trillion; that works out to $42,000 per citizen, $118,000 per tax payer".
To those who disregard the country’s current financial status Barth warns, “You can’t say ‘oh this doesn’t affect me’… you’re already paying for it. If you are paying taxes you are already $118,000 in the hole.”
Many who are paying for it are still unaware of what they are paying for. President Obama signed The Recovery Act into law on Feb 17, 2009. This bill alone spent over $787 billion with its main focus being to “preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery,” as written in H.R. 1 Section 3. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the only jobs that were created in April 2009, after the Recovery Act was passed, were jobs in health care, education, and government. While government jobs saw the most growth, with over 120,000 new jobs, the private sector lost about 650,000 jobs in April alone. Government jobs are paid for with tax dollars, but only by creating private jobs does the overall tax base increase. The less private sector jobs we have, the less tax dollars available. Conversely, the more government jobs we create, the more tax dollars are needed to fund them and the debt continues to rise. The money spent to create jobs really just created more debt over time.
The $787 billion was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to government spending in 2009. The government spent a total of $3.52 trillion in Obama’s first year in office and they show no sign of stopping anytime soon. The passage of H.R. 3590, known as the Health Care Bill, takes control of one-sixth of the US economy, costs about $1.33 trillion, and creates 159 new government agencies to regulate insurance and medical care.
Ronald Reagan once said, “Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” A good amount of government spending is hidden in current government bureaucracies and creating more of them almost guarantees more irresponsible spending of taxpayer dollars.
The National Debt is not something to be ignored because it has very serious consequences. Barth explains, “Right now, we have such a substantial debt. Such a substantial, unsecured debt that there are a couple things that are going to happen. It’s going to be called inflation, it’s going to be called a rise in interest rates, and hopefully not, but inevitably, the dollar, if it gets that weak, will collapse.”
It doesn’t end there. “Debt limits your abilities, your freedoms, your liberties to spend your money how you see fit…to increase your own net worth in order to be a productive member of society either through your contributions through work or your contributions through charity,” says Barth.
“That [Obama] has spent more money than any of the 43 prior Presidents, he is limiting all of our financial security, all of our freedoms, and all of our liberties.”
She also asks, “When it comes to national security, how much is this debt going to inhibit our ability to defend ourselves?”
Barth isn’t the only one afraid of the ramifications of the debt on our capability to keep America safe. Hillary Clinton, when appearing before congressional panels in Feb 2010 to discuss the State Departments budget request for 2011, said, “We have to address this deficit and the debt of the United States as a matter of national security not only as a matter of economics.”
Barth says, “This amount of debt should really blow anyone’s hair back, young or old.” And she certainly is not comfortable with the numbers that are continually climbing on the debt clock.
“I feel cheated, helpless in a sense,” she says. No matter how helpless she feels she refuses to let the government get away with obscene spending anymore.
“I certainly did not expect to be in this fight,” says Barth who is currently running for 70th Assembly District’s Republican Central Committee of Orange County, CA. Yet, she is fighting, and luckily she is not alone.
Charles Daniel, a 28-year-old Law Student, agrees with Barth’s reasoning for joining the tea party.
"I want to leave this country, this planet, in a better place than it was when I got here,” says Daniel. His fear, that the massive debt accumulating will leave the future in a deep economic crisis, is unfortunately becoming a reality.
"It’s my generation that’s going to have to man up and take care of business," says Daniel.
For the government to begin combating the current debt, Barth says, “The first thing that you do, that anybody does if they’ve got a problem with debt, is that they stop spending and they find ways to save.”
For government to save, “They need to look in their own house and see what kind of programs are obsolete, what kind of programs are overburdened with fat and spending, and what types of programs really aren’t producing the effect that they were first implemented to produce,” Barth says.
One example of an obsolete government program is the National Resource Conservation Service, established in 1935 to help farmers minimize soil erosion. It has since been found by the U.S. General Accounting Office to make absolutely no difference, costing taxpayers $800 million a year.
Spending has been largely unregulated in many government programs as well. The Government Accountability Office found that the Department of Agriculture paid $1.1 billion over seven years to deceased farmers, 40 percent of which had been dead for over three years.
Currently, the government does not have to produce a profit and rarely takes inventory on where all the money is being spent. The result is unnecessary spending provided by your tax dollars. Barth suggests treating government like a private enterprise and having them show evidence of profit through revenue. That does not mean more taxes. “There has never been a time in economic history that raising taxes raises revenue,” says Barth.
In order to stimulate the economy and create wealth, Barth suggests, “Corporate tax cuts and individual tax cuts, because the more money people have the more they spend it.”
“Give people back some of their own money that they’ve worked hard for. Let them spend it how they see fit. And then I think you’d see a really good rebound,” She says.
In the midst of this recession Barth and Daniel are two Americans who choose not to give up. “I have hope. I hope that there are some people behind us that are fighting just as hard,” says Barth.
For all Americans this is the year we have a chance to show the government how powerful the people can be. It is time for us to stand up for ourselves and the future of America by holding the government responsible for what they have done to our economy.
Referring to November congressional elections, Barth says, “This is the most important election in my life.” So get out there and vote America.