Weinstein: Washington needs to solve its spending problem - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

Weinstein: Washington needs to solve its spending problem

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Posted: Friday, December 30, 2011 5:01 pm | Updated: 4:32 pm, Sat Dec 31, 2011.

I remember the days when a billion was a large number. I remember sitting in grade school being taught that the end of the numerical road stopped in the billions, because any number beyond that was irrelevant. Now, the current administration is throwing the number “trillion” like it’s yesterday’s holiday fruit cake.

The White House is now asking for Congress to increase the government’s debt ceiling limit by an additional $1.2 trillion. Will they get their way? Of course, because it’s politics as usual. The request will be made while the House is in recess. There will be no one there to challenge the request and hold the administration accountable for their “out of control” spending.

Let’s put the number “trillion” into perspective. Let’s say I agreed to give you one trillion dollars, with the catch being that I will only pay you one dollar every second. The transaction would take nearly 31,688 years, 269 days, 1 hour, 46 minutes and 40 seconds. That’s how much a trillion dollars is. Now the administration wants permission to spend another trillion dollars.

What’s more disconcerting is the fact that the additional debt limit increase will be used to serve the nation’s borrowing needs through 2013. This begs the question, what do we do beyond 2013? The answer: Increase the debt ceiling again.

When is enough, enough? When can Washington join the rest of us at the adults table engaging in an adult conversation? The federal government has a serious spending habit and they refuse to put in place accountability measures that protect our nation. They want and have a free license to spend as much money as they want.

What they fail to realize is that this money, which we don’t have, is not theirs to spend. They were merely elected to office to be the stewards of “our” money. There appears to be no regard to the long-term damage that most economists are predicting if these habits continue to persist.

Fortunately, for these politicians, the majority of them won’t be in office when their full destruction is realized. It will be left to our children and grandchildren to pick up the pieces. The tragic reality is that picking up the pieces will entail enormous taxes. They will be paying for our current politicians’ lack of regard for their future.

Perhaps the administration is hoping that this story will be lost on us since it is breaking during the holidays. Perhaps they are counting on the fact that many of us are not paying attention due to the business and craziness of the Christmas season. We should never stop paying attention, especially when it’s our kids’ futures on the line.

My hope is that Washington will stop fighting efforts to hold them responsible. I hope that they will understand that Washington needs to live by the same financial rules that we all have to live by. If you can’t afford it, don’t spend it.

Last year, the Obama administration lectured Americans about tough choices ahead of us during these tough economic times. As Americans, we were to make great sacrifices for the sake of our fellow Americans. Imagine if Washington lived by that same edict.

Michael “Winey” Weinstein can be heard on The Mike&Winey Show on 92.3 KTAR. (www.mike&winey.com).




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