Government cannot spend unless and until it has taken the earnings of the makers. That taking occurs by way of taxation, printing, and/or borrowing. Printing, aka “Quantitative Easing,” waters down purchasing power. Borrowing requires us to pay interest and principal. Each of government’s means of getting money reduces taxpayer purchasing power, and that reduces prosperity for all, and that reduction kills jobs.
The U.S. now has more than 310 million citizens; its national debt is nearing $16 trillion. Each citizen is, in effect, responsible for paying $51,612.00 of the reported debt. That obligation is in addition to all the other taxes which we, the taxpayers, have to pay for legitimate spending, but also for all the years of our leaders’ reckless spending habits.
If only one third or one fourth of the population are taxpayers, we must multiply $51,612.00 by three or four. Your actual share is between $154,838.00 and $206,838.00. Your individual share of the $16 trillion debt is more than most taxpayers will ever have. But wait, there is more.
We all know about the $16 trillion national debt; but, did you know about the other $16 trillion? From a limited audit of the Federal Reserve in 2011, we learned that the Fed also made zero-interest loans to currently undisclosed recipients, totaling approximately $16 trillion. In addition to those trillions, we taxpayers are also burdened by “unfunded liabilities.” Those obligations include Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, and the prescription drug program.
A great deal of government spending involves budget categories that are not subject to the debt limit. For example, the federal prescription drug program has accumulated another $20 trillion of unfunded liabilities. Social Security accumulated another $15 trillion of debt.
Medicare has a whopping $80 trillion of unfunded liabilities. None of those obligations are listed as part of the national debt. The U.S. national debt and unfunded liabilities now total a sum in excess of $129.5 trillion. That is about $1,667,000 per household. These numbers are from my calculations using data from www.usdebtclock.org. But, that is not all.
Now, our federal “leaders” are spending faster than ever before. Each year the federal government spends more than $3.8 trillion. That rate is bad enough; but, the government only brings in about $2.3 trillion per year, the rest is borrowed or printed.
You and I, the taxpayers, will have to repay most of that money. Remember, the government has no money until it takes it from us.
Ask President Obama when and how he plans to pay off that debt. Ask him how he plans to reduce the debt when he won’t even reduce spending. When we add in all federal debt, plus taxation by state and local governments, we have great cause to fear. Our federal, state, county, and city leaders spend money faster than it rolls in; only a few representatives seem to know or care about our coming rendezvous with reality. Why do we let them spend so much? Where are our champions?
Over two terms, George W. Bush racked up $4.1 trillion in total debt. That was obscene. President Obama added another $7 trillion in just three-and-a-half years; even more obscene. He promised to cut the deficit in half.
Instead, he doubled, tripled, and quadrupled the annual deficits. If the government keeps raising the debt ceiling, we could reach the point where all revenue goes straight to our creditors. If we stop raising the debt limit, we might still save our nation.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident George R. Ferrin is a local attorney. For three years he was a civil structural engineer holding a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University. For the last 30 years, he has practiced law as a commercial litigator focusing primarily on construction and engineering related cases.