How to Really Reduce Our National Debt

Friday, January 28, 2011
The battle between our two political parties on how to reduce the size of our 14-trillion dollar national debt is never ending. One party wants to slash and burn. The other wants to put a cap on spending, but change the wording so that government invests rather than spends. Our Congress is much like Old Man River – it don’t plant ‘taiters, don’t plant cotton – it jus’ keeps rollin’ along. It keeps rolling along spending our money because most of us cannot begin to imagine how much a trillion dollars is.
Think of it this way: a stack of thousand dollar bills 4 inches in height equals a million dollars. To make a billion dollars that stack of thousand dollar bills would be 358 feet high. A trillion dollars is a stack of thousand dollar bills 67.9 miles high. Looking down from the top of that stack you can see just how deeply in debt we are. Here’s another way of looking at it. The National Debt is approaching 14 trillion dollars. There are approximately 100 million households in America. Spreading that 14 trillion among these households would give each one about $140,000. I can squeeze by on that.
I’ve heard suggestions that one way to reduce the deficit is to reduce the size of government. The persons making those suggestions always go about it in the wrong way. They want to cut some programs they deem unnecessary or abolish some federal departments that are redundant. Those suggestions have some merit but they either don’t go far enough or they don’t get to the crux of the problem which is actually reducing the size of government by reducing the number of people representing us. There are 435 members in the House of Representatives and one hundred Senators. Do we really need that many? Can’t we get along with half that many – 217.5 representative – okay make it 218. We don’t want to slice any of them in half, or at least we’d have a hard time deciding which one to slice – and one Senator from every state – or fifty total. Congresspersons earn about $165,000 each. So halving the number of people in Congress would save roughly $52 million dollars and some change, which is a stack of thousand dollar bills more than 16 inches high. That’s not much when you put it up against that stack that’s almost 68 miles high. The real savings would come in the money spent by the 217 members of the House and 50 members of the Senate we eliminated.
Let me use a sports analogy to shed some light on what I’m getting at. Let’s use basketball for example. Basketball was a terrifically fast-paced game when there were two referees calling the game. Then someone got the bright idea of adding a third referee. I don’t know if anyone has kept statistics on the number of fouls called before and after the third official was added, but I would say the number of fouls called has increased substantially with the added ref. Let’s face it, you give a guy a whistle and he doesn’t blow it – he’s out of a job. If he doesn’t blow the whistle so many times a game someone will figure out that he’s not necessary to the game. You’ve seen the replays on the “phantom” fouls called in both the NBA and the NCAA. The Zebras have made it almost impossible to play good solid defense in basketball.
It’s the same in our Congress. Send a guy to Washington and he doesn’t sponsor a bill or write a law – sheesh – someone will figure out he’s not needed and he’s out of job. It’s these new bills and laws that cost so much money. Who do you think dug this 14 trillion dollar hole we’re in? Not you. Not me. It was those people we sent to Washington.
Be honest with me. How many times have you personally needed your Senator or Representative? Sure there are activists who bug the daylights out of their representatives but most of us go a whole lifetime without ever having any interaction with those folks.
Reduce the number of people in Washington spending our money by 50% and that stack of Grover Clevelands will be down to a mole hill faster than you can whistle me for having too many men on the court.

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