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Public Statements

The Budget Deficit

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


THE BUDGET DEFICIT -- (House of Representatives - June 21, 2005)

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Mr. COOPER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from South Carolina for yielding. I want to take a little bit different tack, because I think our audience has heard a blizzard of numbers and sometimes it is hard to take in all that data at one time.

This chart shows right here a few dates on our calendar. One date is the year 2004, last year. Most Americans got through that year all right, and they do not realize the fiscal gravity of our situation. Do not take my word for it. Our Nation's top accountant said that the year 2004 was "arguably the worst year in our fiscal history."

That says a lot. That is a big statement. That includes the Great Depression, that includes all the world wars, the Civil War. How on earth could 2004 have been "arguably the worse year in our fiscal history?" Because in that one year, Congress promised $13 trillion worth of future spending that is completely unpaid for. Never in American history has Congress been that irresponsible, and that is why our Nation's top accountant made that declaration about 2004.

We will look at some future years. The debt that we are running up that our colleagues have explained so well is going to cost us so much in interest, that by about the last year of the Bush administration, we will be spending more money on interest payments to our Nation's creditors than we will be on regular domestic government in America. In a sense, it will be a better deal to be a creditor of this country than to be a citizen of this country, because the creditors will be getting more money than we will be, if we look at regular, nondefense, discretionary spending.

Let us look at another key date in our future. This was in the Wall Street Journal. At the rate that foreigners are lending us money, buying our debt, by February 9, 2012, the Chinese will have bought the last bond from a U.S. citizen, and then they will own all of our foreign debt. Their pace of buying our debt, of loaning us money, of getting us dependent on their credit is so ravenous that just a few short years from now, they will own all the foreign debt, if current trends continue.

Look at another key date. By the year 2017, that will be the first honest picture of the deficit in American history, because today the true size of the deficit is being disguised by the Social Security surplus. Last year, people like to say the deficit was $412 billion. Well, the true deficit was $567 billion, because $155 billion of Social Security surplus was used to disguise the true size of the deficit. We owe that money to Social Security recipients. That is one of the most solemn obligations our country has ever made, and yet people never mention the true size of the deficit. Well, by 2017 there will not be a surplus anymore, and then the true deficit will be revealed.

Look at the year 2035. A reputable group, Standard & Poor's, they rate all of the debt in corporate America, all the debt in the world. They are predicting that the U.S. Treasury bond by that year will achieve junk bond status. If that is not a dire warning, I do not know what is, because the U.S. Treasury obligation is the soundest obligation on this Earth. We have always paid our debts as a Nation. That is the gold standard of bonds. But here is Standard & Poor's, the most reputable private sector debt-rating organization, saying that if current trends continue, our bonds will be junk bond status.

Look at the final date on here. I think it is 2040. That is when, again, our Nation's top accountant says that it will take all revenues collected by the Federal Government to do one thing; every penny collected from Federal income tax, Federal corporate tax, all the other taxes to do one thing. What? Service the debt, pay our creditors. Interest alone. There will not be one red cent left for any national defense, for any Social Security, for any Medicare, for any anything. That is not my prediction; that is our Nation's top accountant.

That is the sort of fiscal hole that these numbers that my colleagues have revealed are leading us into. This is a problem. This is a true crisis. I have called this the "road to ruin." That is what it is. We have to change course.

Let me show my colleagues this. A lot of folks say, well, 9/11 did all this. What people do not realize is the Cato Institute revealed in a recent study that President George W. Bush and the Republican Congress are the biggest domestic spenders, nondefense spending, since Lyndon Baines Johnson. The title of the report is called "The Grand Old Spending Party: How the Republicans Became the Party of Big Government," and this graph shows it. One might think that some previous Democratic Presidents were big spenders, but look at this: Carter and Clinton, they are down toward the bottom. Lyndon Johnson did try to give us a guns-and-butter budget, but only President George W. Bush has approached him in terms of growth of domestic spending. These are the true numbers; this is what the American people need to focus on. We have a dire deficit situation, and we need action.

So I appreciate the gentleman, my good friend from South Carolina, holding this Special Order. It is very important that all the business people of America, all the citizens of America, wake up and take notice of this situation, because they are not seeing it on regular television, they are not hearing the truth, they need to focus on reality.

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