Published DateTo the editor,
Here is an open letter to the president concerning the debate on increasing the debt limit.
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government's reckless fiscal policies.
Our federal debt has increased by ... $8.6 trillion. That is ''trillion'' with a ''T.'' That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers.
Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand. Some people may wonder why they matter. Here is why: This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest. That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we'll spend on Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program. That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined.
And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and states of critical investments in infrastructure.
Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America's priorities. Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans — a debt tax that Washington doesn't want to talk about. If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.
But we are not doing that. Unfortunately, the principle was abandoned, and now the demands of budget discipline apply only to spending.
Our debt also matters internationally. Now, there is nothing wrong with borrowing from foreign countries. But we must remember that the more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might not be aligned with ours.
Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ''the buck stops here.'' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.
If these words sound familiar you might be right. These words are taken directly from the Congressional Record of March 16, 2006 and were made by a United States Senator who spoke about how irresponsible it is to continually increase the debt limit for unnecessary spending. These remarks end with the following:
"I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit" — Senator Barrack Obama, March 16, 2006
If it was wrong to carelessly borrow money then is it still wrong today?