Traci LeBrun

Not only is the government breaking through the debt ceiling, they’re crashing through it. 

A couple weeks ago, our Best of the Mess from 1951 exemplified the same thoughts many of us are having today regarding the national debt. The title of the opinion piece was “Taxes hit ceiling – and then some!”

The piece examined non-military spending and stated that in 1930, government expenditures equaled $2.7 billion, and added that in 1950, the government spent $27.8 million, which was ten times the 1930 amount. The author posed the thoughtful question, “Was the government ten times as useful to the people?” 

The opinion piece went on to state: “No administration’s voice is raised for less spending. We heard Secretary of the Treasury Synder the other day insist that the people must be encouraged to be thrifty and buy bonds. He said not a word about encouraging the government to be thrifty … the government does not need to cost $27 billion for non-military services. But it will go on costing that much and more as long as spending gets more votes than saving.”

Fast forward to 2021. Our national debt is now $28 trillion. I’m not a mathematician, but that seems like a lot. 

As for the federal deficit, in 2020, the federal government spent $6.55 trillion and took in $3.42 trillion. Most of us can’t fathom even what a million looks like to spend, but it helps to put it into household spending terms. 

The 2020 median family income in the U.S. is $68,703. If a family spent as much as our government, it would spend about twice that and would have to put $62,917 on a credit card. That is on top of already being in debt $517,287, according to federalbudgetinpictures.com.  

How about government waste? Our government has given out $1 trillion in American Rescue Plan programs and tax credits. Before the pandemic, it seemed like there was a grant for everything imaginable. A $10,000 grant for a cactus theater in Arizona seems reasonable to me. 

Monthly checks, as part of the Biden administration’s Child Tax Credit, have been issued beginning in July giving families $300 per child under the age of 6 years old and $250 per month for children ages 6-17, unless the household makes over $150,000, then you’re out of luck. I know families who are collecting $1,500 per month for just having children. 

And as part of CARES Act funds to businesses, I’ve heard of several accounts of businesses receiving money that began as a possible loan but turned to a grant. One out of county insurance company has $80,000 in the bank that they admit is extra money for them. A good friend owns an autobody business with her husband. They were able to put on a new roof, cosmetic siding and polish up their interior with CARES Act money. I’m happy for my friend, but who’s paying for that? And does the government know that children get more expensive as they get older? 

The White House on their website boasts: “The Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan provides the largest child tax credit ever and historic relief to the most working families ever.” If this doesn’t help buy some votes, I don’t know what will. 

But it’s not just the Biden administration that wants to throw money at problems; President Trump promised to chip away at the national debt, but in the end raised the debt by nearly $7.8 million. 

I don’t think anyone would disagree with the type of safety net that F.D.R. created in 1935 with Social Security, and we would all likely agree that people who truly need help should receive it. But did a restaurant in a nearby county really need the new bar and outside patio at the expense of the American taxpayer? 

Will we ever dial back the spending? Will we ever agree on where to cut or will both parties continue to try to outspend each other in an effort to get votes?  

Our legislators could take a lesson from the Mille Lacs County Board of Commissioners as they recently asked each department head: “What are the very basics needed in your budget? What are the programs that are mandated?” 

And perhaps our legislators need to take a step back and remember the purpose of our government as outlined in the Preamble of the Constitution: to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”  

This would be valuable to not only impose severe taxes upon our people but to remind the government that they also exist to secure the blessings of liberty and be mindful of what they impose on its people. I am not making a stretch to say that imposing a vaccine while threatening to take away the earning potential of those who object is not living up to the founding fathers’ intentions of creating life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people.

Traci LeBrun is the editor of the Messenger.

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