A national debt of mind-boggling proportions

The Madison County Record Feb. 14, 2010, 9:34am

To the editor:

When speaking, a trillion easily rolls off the tongue with little thought as to how massive a trillion really is.

Voting along partisan lines, 60-39, Senate Democrats on Thursday, Jan. 28, were able to push through a $1.9 trillion increase in the national debt with a supermajority -- Senator-elect Scott Brown had not yet been seated -- which represents a staggering and record increase of $14.3 trillion in total borrowing power.

This is the third time since President Obama took office that Democrats have raised the debt ceiling.

Less than a decade ago $1.9 trillion would have financed federal government operations and programs for an entire year. Now it's only enough to make sure that our government can be kept open until after the November election, thus sparing Democrats from another vote prior to Election Day.

It took 200 years to build the federal debt to a total of $1.9 trillion. As the national debt was approaching $1 trillion in 198l, President Ronald Reagan described $1 trillion as "a stack of thousand-dollar bills 67 miles high." Now 14.3 trillion would form a stack of $1,000 bills 958 miles high, amounting to $45,000 for every American.

Just what does the $1.9 trillion figure represent? In money, $1.9 trillion equals about $6,000 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S.

In military operations, $1.9 trillion is twice the money America has spent in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. In seconds, 1.9 trillion adds up to about 60,000 years. In hours, 1.9 trillion would go back almost 220 million years ago when dinosaurs were just beginning to dominate the Earth.

No reasonable person could deny that federal spending is out of control. To make matters worse, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that the U.S. could run a deficit matching last year's $1.4 trillion shortfall.

Could it be that many Americans don't care about the insane debt being being racked up. Will it even be possible to pay back the interest on such a massive debt which is estimated to be $6 trillion over the next decade?

It is time to take action. The November election will give voters an opportunity to reverse the drift away from the freedoms and principles set forth in our Constitution, before Socialism -- already viewed favorably by one third of Americans according to a Pew Poll -- overtakes this nation and completely destroys the can-do spirit of the American people.

For it is through free enterprise that this nation will prosper. Spending massive amounts of money is not the solution to creating jobs or wealth.

I would hate to think that this generation of Americans has become so self-centered and selfish that they live only for today with little or no concern about how their narcissistic behavior will affect future generations of Americans.

Nancy J. Thorner
Lake Bluff

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