Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Bush's Tax Cuts "Pay For Themselves"
U.S. $10 trillion in the red
Congress raised the limit once again as U.S. debt nears $10 trillion. That's about $30,000 for every American.
BY ROB HOTAKAINEN
McClatchy News Service
WASHINGTON -- As the national debt heads toward the $10-trillion mark, generous Americans are sending checks to the federal government.
Donations to the Bureau of the Public Debt have topped $2.5 million so far this year. That's the highest amount since at least 1996.
It's not making much of a dent, though.
For the fifth time since 2001, Congress is raising the debt limit, increasing it by $850 billion to $9.815 trillion. The Senate approved the plan on a 53-42 vote Thursday. That's $9,815,000,000,000.00.
The House of Representatives has already signed off on the plan, without a direct vote.
According to the folks who follow this stuff closely, the national debt has been rising by an average of $1.36 billion per day since September of last year.
And each citizen now has a share of nearly $30,000.
But Congress has an easy solution to deal with the rising tide of red ink. Instead of fretting over it, members simply allow the government to borrow more money, much to the consternation of some critics.
''American families don't have the luxury Congress has,'' said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who opposed the increase.
``They can't get a new loan or new credit cards after they have maxed out their capability to borrow. Yet, instead, every day in this body we do essentially that.''
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said Congress had to approve more borrowing by early October or the government wouldn't be able to pay its bills.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who heads the Senate Budget Committee, said the national debt ''has exploded'' as a result of President Bush's tax cuts, forcing the federal government to borrow more money abroad.
Conrad said the United States is ''in hock'' to Japan, owing more than $600 billion, and China, owing more than $400 billion.
He said the rising debt comes at the worst possible time, right before a flood of baby boomers retires, but that Congress has no choice but to raise the debt ceiling.
''If we fail to act in a timely way on raising the debt limit, the creditworthiness of all United States instruments would be called into question,'' Conrad said. ``That could have a very severe effect on already shaky financial markets.''
If you would like to help reduce the national debt, make your check payable to the Bureau of the Public Debt. In the memo section, note that it's a gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public. Mail your check to: Attn Dept G, Bureau of the Public Debt, P. O. Box 2188, Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188.