Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We Can't Afford Betty McCollum

From the Heritage Foundation, staggering facts about the size of the federal government's budget deficit. Excerpts:
  • This year, Washington will spend $30,958 per household, tax $17,576 per household, and borrow $13,392 per household. The federal government will increase spending 22 percent this year to a peacetime-record 26 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
  • The 2009 budget deficit will be larger than all budget deficits from 2002 through 2007 combined. More than 43 cents of every dollar Washington spends in 2009 will have been borrowed.
  • President Obama's budget includes $1.4 trillion in tax increases, all of which would go toward new spending rather than deficit reduction.
  • The White House projects $10.6 trillion in new deficits between 2009 and 2019--nearly $80,000 per household in new borrowing.
  • The public national debt--$5.8 trillion as of 2008--is projected to double by 2012 and nearly triple by 2019. Thus, America would accumulate more government debt under President Obama than under every President in American history from George Washington to George W. Bush combined.
  • The coming tsunami of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid costs are projected to push the federal public debt to 320 percent of GDP by 2050 and over 750 percent by 2083.
Rather demoralizing proof that we as a nation are tapped out. We've already spent the nation's wealth far beyond our ability to pay it back during this generation, and increasing that rate of spending at every opportunity.

Assumptions that we will EVER be able to pay it back rest upon the belief that far more responsible government leaders will be in charge decades hence and they will curtail their spending appetites enough to bail out the bankrupt US Treasury. In addition, the voters in the future will be gracious enough to slash their standards of living far beneath what we have now, in order to funnel the vast majority of their incomes to the government in order to pay down our debt while receiving fewer services.

In other words, we're counting on the entire American voting public being replaced by fiscally conservative alien body snatchers in the next 30 - 50 years. Yes, that's a long shot, but moderately more likely than Obama's public health care option being budget neutral. As such, let me be the first to say, Zoltan Xtropcazard of Remulus 12 in 2058.

Until that glorious day, we're stuck with the politicians we elected and who created the fiscal apocalypse cited above. People like Rep. Betty McCollum. She's been in Congress for 8 years, never met a spending increase she didn't like, and certainly should be aware of the kinds of financial information from OMB posted above. And how does she react?

From her speech last week at a Democrat party rally for Obama care:

There are opponents of health care reform. There are people who say that the richest most powerful country on Earth cannot afford to provide health care for all of its citizens. There are opponents who want to protect profits before they protect the right of people to access health care in this country.

Richest country on Earth? Tens of trillions of dollars in debt with no means to pay it off and we're still considered rich? Maybe she means rich in sense of the 7th definition of the word in Merriam-Webster: laughable.

No, I believe McCollum means rich as in we have all the money we need to add yet another trillion dollar spending commitment. This extends a habit I noted back in March when reviewing her legislative spending priorities like:

Can our faith, our values, and our tax dollars be combined into an American "tzedakah" to increase our commitment to feeding the hunger, healing the sick, educating all girls and boys, empowering the ignored and alienated, and inspiring hope in every corner of our planet? I say yes.

She combines the beliefs that she is called on to save the world and that the well of US tax dollars available to pay for her plans is inexhaustible.

Another example, from a speech she gave just one month ago, when the full extent of our fiscal catastrophe was already well known. In the context of already budgeting $7.8 billion in 2010 for her global health initiative, she has this to say about our financial contribution to health care in other countries:

So what are we - the richest nation and other donor nations - doing to significantly reducing child and maternal mortality while investing in building sustainable health systems? Unfortunately, not enough in my opinion.

The government is broke, the politicians have got the citizens at each others' throats over taking on crushing new debt for even more domestic spending, and McCollum is lobbying for untold billions more to save the world, all because we're the "richest nation."

Maybe Betty McCollum is a relic from a different time, when we were the richest nation and had money to throw at any brainstorm any Congress person wanted to pursue. But those days are over, McCollum and her fellow relics sure took care of that.

We cannot afford Betty McCollum in Congress any longer.

That is my proposal for Congressional campaign ads in 2010. It would work against any big spending incumbent (of either party). Present the facts about the deficit, as provided by OMB or CBO. Then get some excerpts/sound clips of the incumbent sketching out their Utopian dreams with your dollars. Something like this:

"It is my belief that the United States has the ability, the resources, and the moral obligation to work in partnership with other wealthy nations, and make the investments to reduce global poverty."

Or this:

The President also recognizes that as the world's superpower we also need to be a "super partner" and I will work to support his agenda of expanded engagement and his efforts to increase the foreign assistance budget.

Let us start with investments in successful birth outcomes for moms and newborns and keep going by focusing on nutrition, water and sanitation, education, and delayed childbearing.

As girls transition to adulthood there must be an economic foundation for them to use their education, earn income, and stay healthy and productive -- an adult continuum.

To unleash the full potential and power women have to contribute greater efforts are needed to promote violence free homes, to expand access to reproductive healthcare, and to increase participation in political decision making.

Whether or not the tape is slowed down to distort it into monster-like intonation is optional.

Then end the spot with something like "Out of money, out of control. This country cannot afford [Congressperson X] any longer." Followed by 5 seconds of black screen and silence.

Then, when the challenger wins on election day, pray they are one of those fiscally responsible pod people I mentioned earlier.

1 comment:

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