Morning Bell: 6 Reasons Why the National Debt Keeps Rising
Josh Shepherd /
Out-of-control spending by Congress and the Obama Administration has once again maxed out the latest debt limit—a nearly $17 trillion burden that harms job growth, gives special interests a pass, and lowers American families’ personal income.
Inspired by Dave Ramsey’s recent post “6 Reasons People Stay in Debt,” we compiled six reasons why Members of Congress, the Obama Administration, and others in Washington avoid the path to financial stability in favor of big spending…
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1. They want to keep up appearances.
The truth is, ever-growing entitlement programs drive ever-greater government spending. Everyone knows it. Some leaders in both parties have even worked together on first-step solutions agreeable to both sides. Yet rather than risk Warren Buffett’s taxpayer-funded benefits decreasing, politicians pretend America’s national budget can handle all the extensive promises they’ve made over the past several decades.
2. They are unwilling to sacrifice even wasteful spending.
Like a recent guest on “Hannity,” some in Washington will defend even the most ridiculous spending. Yet Congress could eliminate billions in spending tomorrow. Heritage expert Patrick Louis Knudsen, who spent two decades working on the House Budget Committee, recently went line-by-line through the federal budget to find $42 billion in unnecessary, poorly run, and duplicative federal government programs.
3. They fear changing “business as usual” in Washington.
Politicians are masters at playing the game. Because Americans are waking up to the fiscal crisis we are in, today policymakers in both parties use any number of legislative “back doors” to increase the debt ceiling—without looking like they did. CNN reports:
Since it’s a politically tough vote, they occasionally devise clever ways to tacitly approve increases without ever having to publicly record a “yes” vote.
For example, as part of the deal to resolve the 2011 debt ceiling war, Congress approved a plan that let President Obama raise the debt limit three times unless both the House and Senate passed a “joint resolution of disapproval.” Such a measure never materialized. And even if it had, the president could have vetoed it.
4. They’re addicted to stuff.
Policymakers in Washington enjoy a good haircut, lavish conference vacations, and even renovating their bathrooms… all at our expense. How does so much wasteful spending get into the federal budget? Follow the money. When government keeps doling out so much to so many, it’s inevitable that Washington’s 10,000+ registered lobbyists get in on the bureaucrats’ action—while helping along a few re-election campaigns in the process.
5. They don’t know how to see long-term.
Word has it that the 2013 deficit will be lower than previous years. Let’s not break out the confetti just yet. This short-term change is due in part to massive tax increases signed into law by President Obama. Moreover, this year’s $642 billion deficit adds to the already massive national debt. Nearing $17 trillion, the debt is depressing job growth and opportunity for American families.
6. They lack the courage to lead on spending reform.
Clearly there are real proposals on the table to get the budget under control. Heritage offers Saving the American Dream, a budget framework that wisely resets spending levels back to historical norms. Even with recent legislative action on defunding Obamacare, it is unclear whether Congress will ultimately follow through and fully defund this unfair, unworkable, unaffordable law before its massive new entitlements go into effect.
We can change our current course, support a budget based on real Constitutional priorities, and set free the unlimited genius of Americans to create jobs, wealth, and prosperity. Find out how you can spread the word >>
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