$175,000 per person

“To deliver on all the government’s obligations and promises we’d need $175,000 per person right now.”

–The Concord Coalition

That’s $53 trillion. It includes both the existing debt and the future unfunded cost of entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security.

Bashing Bush/Obama might be our national pastime, but it’s the Congress that runs the country—most particularly the nation’s budget. With a 2/3 majority the Congress can overrule the President on just about anything. And many congressmen now state openly that their job is to get as much taxpayer loot as possible for their constituents, even if it means that we all run headlong, like lemmings, over a cliff and into bankruptcy.

“Kicking The Bums Out” isn’t going to work, at least not for long. But way back in 1994 the U.S. Congress came within a single vote of passing a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, and succeeded in putting a line-item veto into law. That law wasn’t worded carefully enough to pass muster at the Supreme Court, but today our own Senator Judd Gregg is pushing hard for a better version. It’s a wonderful leap towards sanity, but to reach sanity—actually balance the budget—we’re also going to need that amendment to the Constitution.

The constitutions of most states demand balanced budgets, and in fact 49 of the 50 states are guided by language to that effect. We’ll need to make allowances for wars and recessions, but all the proposals we’ve ever seen have done so. Some day we’ll look back on the current practice—allowing Congress unlimited use of our credit cards—and think that it was a risky and lunatic way to operate.

As long as We The People are taking back control of our Congress, we should also insist on term limits. Washington is full of lifetime politicians who maintain their grip on power by showering money on their constituents. They’re buying votes with your money.

We want a tax system that’s fair and simple—so simple that nobody can manipulate it to their advantage. And we should limit government spending to the levels we had when we last had a balanced budget, back in the Clinton years. Federal spending in the year 2000 was just 18.4% of GDP. We’ll round it up to 20%, splitting the difference between 2009 taxes (15% of GDP) and 2009 spending (nearly 25% of GDP).

What we need now is a simple platform that can be used by congressional candidates from both parties in the coming elections. Send us your ideas. If 25 sober and coherent citizens respond, we’ll set up a web site to discuss proposals and provide a rallying point. We’ve already reserved a web address: WeElectedYou.org.

It’s a lot to hope for, but let’s never forget that we’re borrowing huge amounts of money from our children. How can anybody ignore that simple fact, and continue to steal money from his sons and daughters?

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4 Comments
  1. Venu Rao says:

    Hi John:
    I am with you. Let me know if I can help you in any way in your efforts to make our State and Federal Governments to live in within their means.
    Venu

    Reply
  2. Kathleen says:

    No…we don’t want federal income taxes that are fair–not if believe that the Constitution is the document governing the appropriate role of the federal government. What we want are no federal income taxes because there is no Constitutional authority to tax the income derived from the labor that makes life possible!!! This is basic natural rights stuff…you know, the philosophical “stuff” that forms the foundation for the republic. How will the federal government run then, you ask? Well, try restricting the size of the federal government to its Constitutionally mandated size. For example, limiting the Cabinet to the four named in the Constitution; can you name them? Fund the small federal government in the way it was funded prior to the income tax and prior to becoming an empire. Can you name all of the other federal taxes and fees that we all pay on day-to-day stuff just to live our lives?
    Get rid of the criminal, unconstitutional cartel we call the Federal Reserve System. Nowhere in the Constitution does the Congress have the right to authorize borrowing from a quasi-private central bank and then force the citizens to pay the interest on that debt through their federal income taxes.

    Hello, people? I’m sorry–I could go on, but we are totally screwed if we do not look in the mirror and face what we have allowed the greatest system ever devised for individual liberty in the world to become. You know, I hated it when I goofed up as a kid and my mother–instead of bailing me out–would say, “You made your bed. Now you lay in it.” Bitter medicine, but it paved the way for wiser decision-making and maturity. The question is are Americans up for this kind of medicine? When I look around, I’m not hopeful.

    Reply
  3. Mark says:

    Every election politicians make promises with taxpayer money in order to get elected. Unfortunately, so many voters are on the receiving end of the promises that they vote these people in. When do we smarten up as a society and realize that all these promises, and the related cost / debt, have already started to erode the standard of living in the US. We have only ourselves to blame as it gets worse.

    Someone once said that people get the government they deserve. What does the current state of events say about all of us? Can’t we do better than to burden future generations with short term political gains?
    Mark

    Reply
  4. Ralph says:

    John,
    Between the debt crisis in the US and the PIGS disaster in Europe, the balance of power in the world has shifted to the far east. The lesson not learned, if you do not keep the financial house in order, you get punished.
    And the band plays on?
    Ralph

    Reply
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