National debt hits $16 trillion

Another year, another trillion dollars in debt. At least that seems to be the trend with President Obama at the helm. This month, the national debt surpassed $16 trillion. Only ten months ago, we had passed the $15 trillion mark. Our government is deep in the red and accumulating debt at an accelerating, and alarming rate.

Recently, the national debt has been a hot topic. Politicians and pundits throw around numbers like “billion” and “trillion” but it can be difficult to wrap our heads around such huge numbers. So what is a trillion?

David Schwartz, an education author, uses time to describe the enormity of the amount. He points out that a million seconds is 11 and half days. A billion seconds is about 32 years. And a trillion seconds is 32,000 years.

Now multiply that by five. Since becoming President, Obama had added $5.38 trillion dollars to our national debt- a 51 percent increase. That is more debt than the first 42 United States Presidents combined.

Our $16 trillion debt equals $50,950 for every American man, woman and child.

That $50,950 would by 296 Packer tickets in the end zone of the Packers-Bears game. Or, skip the game and buy yourself 63,687 brats with that money.

Under both Republican and Democrat Administrations, our government has spent too much. But the recent acceleration of debt is particularly dangerous and disappointing.

The President promised again and again to tackle our fiscal situation.
On April 13, 2011 President Obama said, “We have to live within our means. We have to reduce our deficit, and we have to get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt.”

But a year later, under his budget proposal for 2013, the nation’s debt would continue to rise by over $9 trillion in the next ten years. Thankfully, this proposal did not get a single vote in Congress.

The national debt is more than a term for a policy wonks. Why is it so important to you? The Congressional Budget Office points out the harsh consequences for each American because of our mounting debt:

“In particular, large budget deficits and growing debt would reduce national saving, leading to higher interest rates, more borrowing from abroad, and less domestic investment—which in turn would lower the growth of incomes in the United States.”

There is something we can do. Congress can work to stop the bleeding and reform our government, but it requires bold reforms that reject the business-as-usual spending. It won’t happen without work from both parties and both chambers of Congress.

The Senate has not passed a budget in over 1,000 days. Shirking the fundamental duty to provide for the government and address our debt crisis, the Senate’s inaction is a threat to the country.

The House has put forward a budget that addresses the drivers of our debt, implements pro-growth solutions to spur the economy, and cuts government spending to protect taxpayers. At every chance, I will work with my colleagues in the House to address our debt and stop a crisis like that we have seen in Greece and Italy.

House Republicans will continue to advance the type of policies we know are necessary to preserve this nation’s promise and pass on opportunity and prosperity to the next generation.

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) represents Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District.

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