America’s total debt is currently $15,600,000,000,000 (trillion) – Total debt (approximate)
Here are a few more numbers to put that figure into perspective:
29,700 BC – One trillion seconds ago
590,551 – Number of seasons Albert Pujols would have to play under his current contract ($25.4 million a year) in order to earn $15 trillion
$10.6 trillion – Total federal debt at the beginning of Obama’s Presidency
October 15, 2012 – Date on which we will hit the current “debt ceiling” of $16.4 trillion
69.4% – Debt as percentage of GDP today
344% – Debt as percentage of GDP in 2050
4.06% – Percentage of GDP spent on the military (ranking us behind such juggernauts as Brunei, the Maldives, and Eritrea)
10.3% – Percentage of GDP spent on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in 2010
18.2% – Percentage of GDP projected to be spent on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid by 2050
2/3 – Proportion of federal spending devoted to mandatory spending (entitlements, pensions, et al.)
16 – Years we have left before mandatory spending consumes the entire federal budget (leaving nothing for important things like defense)
Anyone with an elementary understanding of accounting (or a calculator) can plainly see that we are spending ourselves into oblivion. As many people have pointed out before me, and as many will assuredly point out after me, these spending habits can’t continue. But that’s not the only reason this is a pressing issue. What is important is that we are continuing to dig ourselves deeper and deeper into the financial hole with no foreseeable end in sight. Which leads us to the last (and possibly most important) number…
2 – Vital steps we need to take to get us off the road to ruin.
Step one: Fix entitlements. A good place to start would be to consign the abomination that is Obamacare to “the ash heap of history” (in the words of Ronald Reagan). Aside from coercing people into purchasing a product from a private company and giving Congress the potential for virtually unchecked power to micromanage our lives, Obamacare will add an additional $17 trillion in obligations to our tab, on top of the debt itself. And that’s a fairly conservative estimate, using the Obama administration’s own numbers. Realistically, the cost will most likely be much, much higher. Even if the Supreme Court doesn’t declare the law unconstitutional (unlikely, given the thrashing the law was given during oral arguments), it should be repealed before it piles even more debt on the backs of the American youth. (We, after all, are the ones who will end up paying for these years of profligacy, in one form or another.)
Step two: “Vote the bums out,” as the saying goes. The election of 2012 will be about far more than Barack Obama versus Mitt Romney. It will be more than a battle between Democrats and Republicans. It will be an ugly, bare-knuckled, no-holds-barred brawl between two diametrically opposed visions for the future.
We have seen the Left howl in outrage at the unveiling of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) new budget proposal, though relatively modest in its reforms. The Democrats in Washington have shown that they will oppose on instinct anything that threatens to come close to significantly reducing an entitlement benefit. (Whether this is due to shortsightedness, cowardice in the face of an unpopular decision, or a case of drastically misplaced priorities is open for debate, though I am inclined to give the benefit of the doubt and suggest the third option.)
Conservatives offer an alternative vision: one in which the government is not an intrusion on everyday life, and like the rest of us, lives within its means, or at least is on the path to doing so. Conservatives recognize that there will be difficult decisions that must be made in order to return our government to a sustainable path, and that the consequences for failing to do so are far worse than the political ramifications of the unpopular but necessary steps that must be taken to save us.
And while conservatives don’t have all the answers, at least they don’t vehemently and reflexively object to the very mention of cutting spending at all, as sometimes occurs, and as was exemplified by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) when a proposal to cut federal funding for a cowboy-poetry festival came up not long ago. If a group of lyrically-inclined cowpokes (not a particularly large constituency, one would think) can arouse such defensiveness in the spend-happy Democrats, imagine the rhetorical carnage that will have to take place to get entitlements on track. (The attack ad portraying a Paul Ryan look-alike shoving a wheelchair-bound granny off a cliff should give you some idea.)
The Obama administration and its cronies will fight tooth and nail for the right to keep up irresponsible spending, and the socialist-style wealth redistribution and shared misery that go with it, on all of us. It is absolutely imperative that they be stopped. With the above numbers in mind, dear readers, you ought now to understand exactly why.