Our Spending Problem in Perspective

Cross-posted at ReduceSpending.org

Imagine an upper-income American family making $230,000 per year. You’d think they were doing really well, until you find out they are spending $360,000 every year because of their lavish lifestyle, putting $130,000 onto their credit card every year.

You’re even more troubled to find out the family is in some serious debt to pay off their fancy cars and a private jet. Altogether, they owe $1.57 million and within 10 years they tell you every dollar of their paycheck will be going toward food, health insurance and paying back credit card companies and their bank.

If all that isn’t enough, you find out they have triplets who are seniors in high school planning on attending an expensive college in the fall. The children were long ago promised their education would be paid for by their parents. The family once had college savings accounts for each of the three children, but they long ago emptied those savings accounts to pay for vacations.

Sound bad? Add several zeroes, and this story represents our country’s budget situation. We are $15.7 trillion in debt. We’re bringing in $2.3 trillion in revenue but spending $3.6 trillion. Our long-term unfunded liabilities — promises we have made but have no reserve funds to pay for — for programs like Medicare and Social Security total well-over $100 trillion.

Congress has been unable to pass a budget — we have now gone over 3 years since Congress set spending parameters. We have, however, increased our debt limit to $16.4 trillion and are likely to do so again in the very near future.

By 2022 every dollar of federal revenue will be paying for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest on our debt. That doesn’t leave a dollar for national defense, education or any other priority, regardless of political ideology.

And rather than fix any of these problems, we continue to authorize new programs, increase annual spending, and raise the debt limit regularly.

If you met this hypothetical family in real life, you’d tell them to write a budget and make the hard choices to get their spending under control. You’d implore them not to make any new purchases or commit to any new spending without offsetting it with savings elsewhere in their budget. And you’d beg them not to take out any more lines of credit to pay off their existing debt or their lavish lifestyle.

Hence, the Coalition to Reduce Spending and the Reject the Debt pledge. We’re here to help you take that very message to Congress. We hope you’ll join us by taking our Voter Pledge or contributing to the cause!

Cross-posted at ReduceSpending.org, the website for the Coalition to Reduce Spending (CRS).  CRS is the only national organization aimed solely at advocating for reduced federal spending as a means of balancing the budget.