Weekly Comments: Deficit dollars could fill Grand Canyon
#573 Oct. 18, 2009
COLUMBUS: Do you remember how awful you felt a year ago when the federal deficit for 2008 was announced at over $400 Billion? How can we ever pay it back? What’s this country coming to?
Well, hang on to your hat and bank account. The deficit for 2009 is $1.4 Trillion. According to the Associated Press, in one year we added more to the debt than the total for the 200 years from 1776 to 1976. It’s $4700 for every man, woman and child in the country. Let’s suppose you’re a family of five and you have an extra $24,000. If you send it to Washington, and the rest of us do it too, then we would have a balanced budget. But only for this year. Prospects for next year look like you better be ready to donate $30,000.
With this deficit hanging over our heads like an anvil, you might think the big news programs this weekend would have been investigating what caused such a calamity, and how to fix it for 2010. No, I didn’t hear any tough questions about the budget. All the investigative reporting was about a balloon floating over Colorado. If you asked a television executive they would likely admit, We’ve got all this great video of the balloon, but nary a photo of the deficit.
Well, here’s a suggestion for a photo of the deficit: take a picture of the Grand Canyon. Then ask viewers to guess, if you stood on the rim and threw in a dollar bill for every dollar of the deficit, how long would it take to fill it. Well, my guess is if you took all our unemployed and lined them up around the Canyon with a scoop shovel, the way the deficits are growing they would have it plumb full by election day 2012.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“The budget is a mythical bean bag. Congress votes mythical beans into it, and then tries to reach in and pull real beans out.” DT #2047, Feb. 24, 1933
“At the next session, [Congress] won't have anything to settle much, outside of unemployment, two billion dollar deficit, arrange extra taxes where they will do least harm next November, relieve Wall Street and think up something new to promise farmers.” DT #1672, Dec. 2, 1931
[Will humorously proposed splitting the country, with Republicans taking states East of the Mississippi, and Democrats taking the West.] “We'd split up and that would do away with the debt, see? Both sides would start in owing nothing. And the Republicans would perhaps continue the same way. But the Democrats, it wouldn't take them long to dig up a deficit. And then the Democrats could take whatever they're using for money, and they could inflate or do anything they wanted to with it. And the Republicans, who say we should never have gone off the gold, well, if they had their own country they could go back on it, if they want to.” Radio, June 9, 1935