A Double Whammy for Illinoisans

January 7, 2011

A Double Whammy for Illinoisans

Published at Illinois Review on January 6th, 2011

How is it that during 2010 this nation accumulated more new debt than it did during the first hundred Congresses combined?

The U.S. Treasury website on Tuesday, January 4, reported that as of last Friday, December 31, the National Debt stood at $14,025,215,708.52.

That equals $10,429.64 in new debt for each and every one of the 308,745,538 people counted in the U.S. by the 2010 Census!

Equally as frightening is that it only took seven months — from June 1, 2010 to December 31 — for the National Debt to increase by $1 trillion.

Here in lies the dilemma likely to cause the first big Showdown in Congress.  The statutory ceiling of $14,294 trillion set by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in February of last year is fast approaching.

It seems unlikely that the debt ceiling won’t be raised before the limit is reached, as neither party wants to be blamed by the American people for shutting down the government and defaulting on its obligations.

Republicans, however, in a likely game of chicken with Democrats, could gain the upper hand in the 112th Congress which convened on Wednesday, January 5th, should they demand that there is a plan in place to significantly reduce future federal spending and the unfunded government liabilities of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare before they agree to increase the Debt Ceiling.

Surely there are some Democrat legislators who are not too stubborn to admit that the lesson conveyed by the November 2, 2010 elections was for less spending and a smaller government.

When, and not if the debt ceiling is raised in Congress, the unbridled and reckless spending must stop. The fact that this nation is saddled with an unsustainable debt level means that leadership has failed on both side of the aisle due to reckless fiscal policies.

Illinoisans face a double whammy!  Illinois has a budget deficit of at least $13 billion, including a backlog of more than $6 billion in unpaid bills and almost $4 in missed payments to underfunded state pensions, largely of the lawmakers’ own making.

Insuring Illinois’ debt costs has become so costly — Its $13 billion in the red budget is one of the nation’s worst — that investment consultants are discouraging their clients from buying up Illinois debt and are instead waiting for Illinois to financially default.

Unless the U.S. Congress and the Illinois General Assembly takes its leadership duties seriously in 2011, embracing a remark by President Harry Truman, “the buck stops here,” this nation will cease to be a nation that is strong domestically and internationally now and for future generations, and Illinois will continue to lose jobs, industry and people to other states as it swims in its own cesspool of debt as a bankrupt state.

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