Years of reckless spending by Congress has jeopardized our nation's future. At the beginning of February, the national debt totaled an astronomical $12.5 trillion and is expected to explode to $25 trillion in the next 10 years. In just the 10 month period before February 1st, Congress overspent federal income by $1.5 trillion and increased its discretionary spending plans by 20%. And this spending increase doesn't include the $787 billion stimulus. The Obama Administration projects a fiscal 2011 federal deficit of $1.6 trillion. No business can operate this way.
Because the federal government spends more than it takes in, the government has to borrow massive amounts money to pay its bills. Much of this money is loaned to us by China, Japan, and OPEC, among others. But relying on foreign nations to finance our government gives these nations an opportunity to influence American policy in ways that may not be good for our country. However, if these nations pull back on their loans, as China has threatened to do, the Federal Reserve will print money to make up the difference. When this happens, inflation will follow. All this governmental borrowing also diverts capital from the private sector, eventually resulting in higher interest rates and slower economic growth.
It is not only fiscally irresponsible for Congress to hand off this overwhelming debt burden to our children, it is immoral. Republicans as well as Democrats are to blame. Unless spending discipline is instilled now, future generations will be left with a government that can't meet its obligations.
The national debt can be reduced through surging federal revenues in a vigorously growing economy. But only if Congress quits spending so much money. As I suggested in a March 2009 article, Congress should impose a widely targeted freeze on federal spending. Unlike the recent Obama Administration proposal, the freeze should be imposed at baselines predating the stimulus and the budgetary increases authorized by the current Congress.
The exploding federal debt is one of the most serious problems facing our country and a looming threat to our economic freedom. Tough decisions will have to be made. It will take conservative fighters to make these decisions and stick with them. I believe we can get our country back on the right financial footing, but we have to act now.