Daniel S. Pokorney

Union County Republicans

The National Debt is the difference between the money the government receives in taxes, interest and other payments and the dollars that are paid out.

There has been a National Debt since the early 1800s and it has varied depending on the world’s and United States’ economies. A large National Debt is a stranglehold on the economy. It prohibits economic growth because government borrowing soaks up private savings that would often be used to invest in productivity.

A large National Debt creates a drag on the economy and many times leads to lower wages and thus a lower standard of living. Every dollar that the government has to pay to “service” the National Debt takes away from spending on education, infrastructure investments and paying for needed research in many areas.

The maintaining of the National Debt is truly a bipartisan problem. Whenever the debt ceiling is raised, senators and congresspeople from all political parties often vote to increase the borrowing. Therein lies the problem. We, as voters, elect our representatives to be a prudent and frugal with our tax dollars. When they lose sight of the fact that they are spending our money, they endanger each of us by weakening the economy.

The areas of spending are also way out of whack. Federal spending should be used only for the military (defense of our nation), disaster relief, infrastructure maintenance and the efficient operation of the federal
government.

When tax dollars are doled out to country after country as foreign aid, the national economy is injured. So many times, the massive foreign aid dollars being spent do not have strings attached or repayment plans in place. If you as an individual were loaning someone money, you most likely would expect some kind of assurances that an attempt to pay back the money would be agreed to.

But with foreign aid, the opposite is true many times. Our dollars are given away to countries that do not have the means to pay it back — and sometimes even given to enemies of our country. The recent massive payments to Iran would be an example of this misguided spending.

Another problem area of spending is the massive dollars given out for “pork barrel” projects and/or spending on research that mean very little to the average taxpayer. We hear of “highways to nowhere” and tax dollars being spent on the study of a frogs, snails, birds or the famous methane release from livestock. If those projects are important enough to do, then private money should be utilized rather than using the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.

Federal revenue will not rise enough to keep up with the increased spending. Most of the citizens are taxed to the point of insolvency already, so increasing the federal tax burden is out of the question. To ensure a stronger economic future, policymakers must slow down the spending and thereby reduce the growth of debt.

If your family is spending more than its income, you have to cut spending in order to maintain your personal economy. It should be no different with the federal government. A federal government, state government, family or individual cannot tax its way out of debt.

A good way for the debt reduction to start would be the institution of a Government Waste Commission. This commission would be a select group of lawmakers, business representatives and economists who would truly be a spending oversight commission. Just this year (according to The Concord Coalition) there have been 68 new and 297 renewed cost-saving recommendations to Congress and the leaders of federal agencies. Historically the policymakers and agency leaders are very slow and hesitant to act on debt-saving moves. Since 2011, only 48 percent of debt-saving recommendations have been partially addressed.

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