To be clear, that doesn't mean they are merely spending the preposterous, hyper gluttonous sum of $1.4 trillion in one year. If that were the case, we'd be in Fat City in terms of the ledger, since the government has arranged to take in $2.1 trillion in 2009. Nearly all of that from taxation of we the people. Unfortunately, that's not nearly enough for our elected representatives. They blew right past that inconceivable sum by an extra 68%, for a one year spending total of $3.52 trillion.
And it doesn't end there. The 2009 deficit of $1.4 trillion is but a morsel of the government's current plan to spend a total of $9 to $10 trillion more than it takes in over the next decade. (And that doesn't even include additional costs possible for health care reform or cap and trade).
An article in The Nation recently talked about the "oh, sh*t" moment liberals have when reading persuasive global warming propaganda:
They say that everyone who finally gets it about climate change has an "Oh, sh*t" moment--an instant when the full scientific implications become clear and they suddenly realize what a horrifically dangerous situation humanity has created for itself.
My question is, when do politicians have the "oh, sh*t" moment when it comes to the deficit? (Incidentally, a problem they happen to have complete control over. Unlike, say, regulating the temperature of the planet.) How many multiple trillions more than we produce do they have to spend before they suddenly realize what a horrifically dangerous situation they have created for the country?
I don't know at what point that is. But a sign to look out for is that they stop proposing brand new multi-million dollar spending initiatives and think about maybe cutting expenses and trying to run a surplus to pay the debt down.
Rep. Betty McCollum of St. Paul - not quite there yet. From her latest celebratory press release:
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) has introduced H.R. 3701, the More Books for Africa Act of 2009. The bill establishes the More Books for Africa Program to facilitate the donation, processing, shipping, and distribution of text and library books to African schools, libraries, community centers, and other centers of learning in partnership with United States-based entities.
"Ensuring access to and availability of textbooks and library books in countries on the continent of Africa is a critical component of our nation's public diplomacy. The More Books for Africa Program will be a powerful cross cultural initiative to help create a more educated global community," Congresswoman McCollum said.
Conveniently not mentioned in her press release was the price tag. For that we have the Thomas Search Engine. From the text of HR 3701, The More Books for Africa Act:
Authorization of Appropriations - There is authorized to be appropriated to the Administrator of USAID $3,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014 for purposes of establishing and implementing the Program.
A cool $15 million of brand new spending. And who knows how much more once it becomes embedded as an entitlement and the lobbyists start working the problem in future Congresses.
As previously noted, Betty McCollum views herself less as St. Paul's representative in the Federal government than as the At Large Congresswoman for the Saving the World. This is just another example. I suppose it would be nice to supply an entire continent thousands of miles away with library and text books. (Although it would be even nicer to make sure our country was set in this regard first. Heck, just a few years ago right in St. Paul "our schools were burning!" due to a lack of books.) But in an atmosphere of already spending trillions of dollars more per year than we have, it is highly irresponsible.
These politicians see no need to set any priorities in spending, everything is critical, everything can be funded, nothing needs to be sacrificed, and they think there is no limit to the amount of your money they have available to fund it. That's how you get a $1.4 trillion one year deficit.
Tweaking the campaign slogan I proposed a couple of months ago:
We're out of money. She's out of control. This country cannot afford Betty McCollum any longer.
Feel free to customize that for just about any incumbent in the county.