September 2011 - Sierra Scoop Column

This Month I want to talk about something on the Federal level that affects every State, our County and every one of us, the national Debt. There has been a lot of talk regarding our national debt which is currently close to $15 trillion dollars and rising. If our overspending continues, it is expected to hit $25 trillion within 10 years! Recently after several deep discussions on this topic, the question that kept being raised is “Can we ever pay off this massive debt if $15 trillion, let alone $25 trillion?” After creating a spreadsheet and running the numbers the answer to this question is a resounding NO!

The current amount of money that is generated (income taxes, payroll taxes, etc) is currently $2.57 trillion,                  while the current budget has us spending $3.83 trillion, leaving a deficit of $1.27 trillion. For a great overview of our money situation visit this website, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/budget-2010/.

So can we pay off this debt? If we paid $1 dollar a Second towards the debt (not counting interest), it take would ~458,000 years to pay off the debt. If we were to pay $1,000 per second ($31.5 billion per year) it would take ~458 years. Of course all of this assumes that we do not continue to run a yearly deficit and continue to add to the debt itself.

Without hurting the economy further, we cannot raise enough revenue (even through tax hikes) to pay the $1000 per second, so the question is “why are we continuing to have this debate?” The debt can never be paid off, so we either continue to pay $300+ billion per year in interest or do the unthinkable of “living within our means”.

Does this mean that we can just keep on spending money we don’t have? What does it matter at this time what we do. There is no way that we can ever pay off this debt so if the rest of the world is happy to continue to take our money that is becoming worthless, then so be it. Of course I don’t like the scenario before us but what real choice is there?

Let your feelings be known to ALL Supervisors - District 1, Larry Johnson, ljohnston@mono.ca.gov. District 2, Hap Hazard, hap04@msn.com. District 3, Vikki Bauer, vbauer@mono.ca.gov. District 4, Tim Hansen, thansen@mono.ca.gov. District 5, Bing Hunt, bhunt@mono.ca.gov