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Words Matter but Numbers Matter Even More

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 13, 2011 5:30 AM |

Do words matter?

Of course they do. If we can not trust what somebody says and means, how can we engage them in an honest, open, forthright manner? We can’t. On this note and with the prospects of aggressive debate on raising the federal debt ceiling on the near term horizon, let’s review what a United States senator had to say on this topic back in March 2006,

Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $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. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.

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. It is more money in one year than we are likely to spend to rebuild the devastated gulf coast in a way that honors the best of America.

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 like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on.

Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities.

Senator Barack Obama
Senate Floor Speech on Public Debt
March 16, 2006

– Sen. Obama, Congressional Record, S.2237-8, 3/16/06

The then Illinois senator and current president was right back in 2006. However, did he make this statement based upon the courage of his convictions or was it issued purely for political pandering and to bait the Bush administration? Hahaha…we certainly all know the answer to that.

I am not railing on Obama now nor am I espousing the Republican platform because the simple fact is both parties have driven our nation to the current precipice of fiscal ruin and economic disaster. That is a simple reality.

Of course words matter. Numbers matter even more. Washington collectively has stolen our children’s future with failed policies for far too long. Courage and conviction? Regrettably those are foreign concepts for the political operatives on both sides of the aisle who have lined their pockets with money from Wall Street, from unions, and from anybody else looking to curry favor. Those favors are not free. Future generations pay for those favors.

That bill is overdue.

The time has long since passed to change the game in Washington and in political capitols around our country. I have no interest in sticking my children, your children, and their children with a bill they can not pay. That is not America.

America sent Washington, the nation, and the world a very strong message in November 2010. I firmly believe that message will be viewed as nothing more than an appetizer for what is being whipped up for 2012.

The rage still burns. I believe waves of those in our nation embodying a sense of disenfranchisement grow stronger each and every day.

Does Washington hear resounding echo from the message sent last November? Are they listening?

Words matter!! Numbers matter even more!!

What do others have to say?

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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