What I don’t understand…

English: Chart of the United States' debt ceil...

English: Chart of the United States’ debt ceiling from 1981 to 2010 in $ trillion. This chart tracks the debt ceiling at the end of each calendar year. Years are color coded by congressional control and presidential terms highlighted. Data source: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np Modified chart by http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:LibertyUSArocks&action=edit&redlink=1 to remove New York Times logo and make more NPOV. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our government and it’s budget crisis, spending money like there’s no tomorrow crisis, raising taxes on practically everyone, I don’t understand some of the reasons for these actions.  I keep thinking of my household and the financial decisions my husband and I have made these past 24 years.  If we had dared to treat our family budget  the way the United States government does theirs, we’d have been thrown into debtor’s prison long ago, if debtors’ prisons still existed!

Agenda one: the Debt Ceiling.  From the bit of research that I’ve done, the Debt Ceiling concept began  in 1917, as our country entered into World War I.  The concept became reality during World War II.    To fund the First World War,  the U.S. Treasury Department sold Liberty bonds and the creation, sale, and management of those bonds brought about the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917.  Allowing the Treasury Department to sell long-term bonds, marketed to the American public, the government was able to hold down interest costs.    Prior to World War II, there were so-called mini debt ceilings, but each one differed in their amounts and were set for different expenditures or projects.  In 1939, Congress got rid of all of the mini-debt ceilings and just rolled them all into one debt ceiling.  By doing this, creating one debt ceiling, Congress’s new action gave the Treasury Department more freedom to take care of debt as they saw fit.  Since WWII, the debt ceiling has been raised about a dozen times.  I find it very ironic that when there was a Republican president, the Democrat leaders in Congress were very vocal about their not wanting to raise the debt ceiling one iota.  However, now that one of their own party is in the Presidential office, they are 100% in favor of raising it.  My point in this bit of financial history is that many Americans are in debt and trying to get out of debt.  We cannot visit our credit card companies and ask for our debt ceilings to be raised.  I think it is time for the U. S. government to get their financial house in order.  Go through all departments, trim out the unnecessary jobs, the unnecessary projects,  and get spending down across the board to what the government actually can spend.  As humorist Dave Berry once wrote, the person in charge of all U. S. government spending should be a single mom who has raised 5 or more kids.  She knows how to tell a kid no, we can’t afford those tennis shoes.  She would certainly be able to tell a Senator that no, he can’t have that $15 million for his state to study methane gas produced by dairy cows!   My husband and I regularly go over our budget to determine if we need to scale back spending in any areas, and try to increase savings too.  I don’t understand why the government can’t do that also.

Agenda two:  Spending, spending, spending.  This concept is very logical.  Do not spend more money than you have!  Ah, but then there is that rectangular plastic card that lets one do just that.  Years ago, when I was about to venture off to college, my dad sat me down to have a “financial talk”.  My dad is a pretty logical thinker and he told me his theory on credit cards.  That if at the end of the month, I found that I wouldn’t be able to pay the bill, that I should then take my credit card and destroy it, cut it up and throw it away.  He said people not being able to pay their credit card bill at the end of the month causes a lot of problems if those folks keep on using that credit card and then they start to rack up higher and higher debts on it.  Our government should listen to my dad!

Agenda three and then I am out:  Taxes.  I don’t have as much to write about taxes and Mark Twain‘s pithy saying is so appropriate about there being two certainties in this life, death and taxes.  I did read an article a month ago, that the increase on the 1% of wealthiest Americans, a so-called punish the heiress, i.e. Paris Hilton, tax would have a very detrimental effect on those farmers and ranchers who own land and  a family farm that they want to pass on to their children who want to keep running the family farm.  The increased tax the heirs would have to pay would be exorbitantly high, and those family farms will have to be sold instead of passed on to the heirs, which is very sad.   I think that example shows how the government tries to come up with a new project or plan, hoping to do so for the public’s good, but all the public is really left with are unintended consequences.  As Milton Friedman once said, “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”   I understand why a government collects taxes and why citizens should pay them.  But it sticks in my craw to know that the taxes our family pays are spent on frivolous pork, i.e. wasteful government programs.   Remember the GSA debacle in Las Vegas?  That cost we the taxpayers $ 823,000, at least!

To sum up, if my family has  to live on a budget, not spending more money  than my husband earns, then how come the U. S. Government can’t  run itself the same way?  That is what I don’t understand.

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