A couple of weeks ago I included some comments about government spending and how politicians were using words to hide the fact that they're spending more than taxes are taking in. As might be expected, there were a few comments.
One reader wrote that they read TDS for money-saving ideas, not to hear my political opinions. They make a valid point. This isn't a journal about my political views. It IS about how we handle our money.
But, that's EXACTLY why I think that it's important for all Americans to pay attention to government budget issues. Not only in Washington, but also in their statehouses and city councils.
The U.S. Government owes over $14 trillion. That number is almost impossible for you and I to understand. So let's put it another way. With 310 million people in the country, your portion is just under $46,000 (in fact, it'll be over $46k within the next few days). So my family of 4 owes $184,000. At least, that's our share of the debt. <http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/>
There's two reasons why I think that this is very important for every family as they work to take control of their finances.
First, many of us have taken serious steps to get our family budgets to balance. We've given up a lot. Sacrificed to reduce any debts we might have. Recognized that it's important to get our debts under control.
But, while you and I are cutting expenses and living frugally our friends in government continue to spend. The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) projects a 2011 deficit of $1.5 Trillion! That works out to $4,838 this year per person!
So while you and I might have managed to reduce our debts by one, two or three thousand dollars, the politicians in Washington borrowed $4,800 in my name! It's like I co-signed for a credit card that they misuse.
Second reason, no person or government can continue to spend more than they take in. Many of us know how that works on a personal level. We got into debt and either struggled to dig out or we had to file for bankruptcy. Our government is no different. Sooner or later the government (which really means you and I) will have to pay those debts or declare bankruptcy. Neither option is pretty. And, both get worse the longer that the spending spree continues.
So I'll continue to encourage people to get out of debt. Whether it's debt that they create themselves or debt that politicians create for them.
And, I'll continue to call politicians to account regardless of their party. This isn't a Democrat or Republican thing. Or a progressive - conservative thing. Any politican at any level who spends more than taxes bring in should be called on it. The financial future that we pass on to our children depends on it.
Keep on Stretching those Dollars!