Patriots since the founding have always risen to the challenges of their time. Today, we must do the same. As the debt crisis deepens, the time is growing short. We must demand our lawmakers speak truthfully about the budget, and offer real solutions.
We know that the biggest threat to our way of life today is our growing debt. Yet progressives in government and in the media disrespect us. They label us extremists and racists when all we are calling for is a responsible government that controls its spending.
Federal spending is up 108 percent from what it was 10 years ago. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the deficit this fiscal year will be nearly $1.6 trillion, the largest in peacetime history. The government borrows 40 cents of every dollar they spend. As the deficit reaches 10 percent of our annual GDP, the debt is now equal to it.
By the submission of his budget, President Obama tacitly admits that he is not serious about addressing the problem. His budget will more than double the deficit in the next few years. And within five years, the debt will grow to $21 trillion. By then, interest payments on our debt will be nearly half of federal tax receipts, and inflation will run wild. This is a mathematical certainty unless great change comes to Washington very soon.
And with the stimulus money soon running out, the bailouts of state and local governments will end. Across the country, they have already started cutting police, firefighters, emergency medical, and teachers. The protests in Wisconsin are just the beginning. In Illinois, tens of thousands of people had been waiting for their checks for months until state officials finally punted by raising taxes and borrowing more money. Dozens of other states have similar horror stories.
We cannot believe half of what our government tells us, and nobody in the media even bothers to cover it. A decade ago, we were running surpluses. What few people knew was that Social Security withholdings gave the federal government its artificial surplus. But now, with our aging population, Social Security is already operating in the red and requires tax general revenue to meet its commitments. And then they tell us unemployment is 9.4 percent when the true number of people seeking work is closer to 20 percent. You see, it is all in how they define unemployment.
But their misleading statements are catching up with them. While the government reported inflation to be only 1.5 percent for 2010, the U.S. already has inflationary problems with food, energy, clothing, and other necessities. The CRB food index was up 36 percent over the past year, and raw materials were up 23 percent. The government can also define inflation in a non-threatening way, but it is already causing anxiety around the world and riots in the Middle East. It is sure to be higher in 2011 and beyond. Much higher.
With the dollar as the world’s Reserve Currency, the U.S. is the only country that pays for its imports in its own currency. As a result, our government can just print more money to pay for anything. So now we are seeing China, Japan, OPEC countries, and others are moving to end usage of the dollar in their transactions for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies. The dollar could lose its Reserve Currency status. When that happens, the price of gasoline and other imports here will skyrocket, inflation will soar, and the economy will tank. Just imagine what happens when China quits buying up our debt.
Saying that we are losing our prosperity is an understatement. We are at the edge of an abyss, and it is mostly a problem of our own making. The time to reduce spending is now. We must press lawmakers for every budgetary cut from wherever it can be found. Last week, they passed a bill to cut $61 billion. These cuts are only a beginning. There will need to be many more.
Unfortunately, we cannot fully reverse the tide of red ink without gaining control of the Senate and the White House in 2012. Assuming that happens, lawmakers will then be able to do what is necessary to balance the budget, including reform of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Of course, ObamaCare must be repealed. The Department of Education, Department of Energy, and even the Department of Commerce should all be severely cut back -- or better yet -- eliminated. We need lower corporate tax rates. We need a roll back in regulations. And we need a Balanced Budget Amendment.
The seriousness of this crisis, however, will not stop the Left from demagoging every cut in every way possible. We must be able to refute their exaggerations.
It is too easy for Washington to return to its old ways. Our task is to elect a governing body of conservatives to go against what is normal in Washington. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a good example of an elected leader who has stood up well against the onslaught. We need many more like him in 2012.
There is no way to exaggerate the importance of the debt crisis. Now is the time for all constitutionally minded Americans to get busy, to plug into the tea party and other grass roots activist groups, and to carry the budget reform message forward. And we cannot let up. This is a crusade, and it will go on for years. The debit crisis is a defining issue of our generation.
Are we willing to do what it takes America to remain an exceptional nation? We do not have much time to answer that question. We must hold our elected officials accountable, and press them relentlessly for budget reform. We literally cannot afford to lose this battle.
Jeff Lukens is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He can be contacted at www.jefflukens.com