U.S. Budget Deficits

January 20, 2008

This is the best overall economy of my lifetime. Almost all sectors of the economy, including the service and manufacturing areas are experiencing a boom in sales and orders. This type of economy is the one described by John Maynard Keynes in which a government should be experiencing budget surpluses. Yet, the federal budget debt is increasing at alarming rates, with our total federal debt near the $9 trillion mark. If the Federal Government had to use the same accounting procedures as private industry, the official budget deficit for this year alone would exceed $1.5 trillion! 
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If you look back at the federal budget from the terms of Presidents’

Washington to  Eisenhower and exclude only the years of declared war or catastrophic depression, the record is remarkable: 127 years of

budget surpluses and 44 years of

budget deficits. Even these deficits, on average, were less than 0.5 percent of the

United States Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Since 1960, the scorecard changes dramatically: just 5 years of surpluses and 39 years of deficits, with these post-1960 deficits averaging over 2.5 percent of GDP—a substantial slice of our national savings.   
Has our American culture changed where our generation is willing to pass the buck down to our descendants? Earlier generations of Americans argued over who would benefit from tariffs, federal infrastructure improvements, and unions versus corporations, but none ever considered passing the cost down to their children and grandchildren. Have we as a society and nation become that self-centered and selfish? Have we become so much of an irresponsible society that we are willing to spend our country into debt in order to have the benefits now and leave the bill to our progeny?[1] 

As citizens we need to step up to the plate and pressure our U.S. Congressmen and Senators to resolve this continual slide into deeper debt. Our predecessor citizens were placed in a similar situation during times far more dire than our present situation. In 1862, when the North was fighting to keep our country united, “loyal Northerners found themselves in the remarkable position of pleading with their representatives to raise taxes to protect the nation’s credit.”[2]  

Amazing—but true. Americans have never appreciated being taxed; witness the rebellion against Great Britain. At the time of the Revolution the American colonies were being taxed at 1/26th of amount of our British brethren. However, we need to remember what a great man once stated—“A tax cut without spending cuts is nothing more than a deferred tax increase.”  

Before committing to any candidates in the ’08 elections, require that they commit to taking specific actions to eliminate the federal deficit. Don’t accept the mantra that we will “grow ourselves out of the deficit.” The only proven methods to reduce deficits are to either cut spending, raise taxes or a combination of the two.[3]  

Let’s change the direction of our country in 2008. Thank you for considering my opinion.

Anthony Emmons

Rayne, Louisiana – Candidate for GOP State Delegate 

[1] “Running On Empty”– How the Democrats and Republicans are Bankrupting

America and What Americans Can do about it

[2]  “Copperheads—The Rise and Fall of

Lincoln’s Opponents in the North by Jennifer L. Weber. See p. 37

[3] Source: www.concordcoalition.org

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