Okay, readers. Let’s begin today’s column with a multiple-choice question: Why does Congress need to raise the Debt Ceiling again?
A. Less tax money was collected than in previous years.
B. More money was spent than previous years.
C. Both A & B.
D. Neither A nor B.
As you ponder that question, here are some helpful facts. (Data are from various government sources.) In 2012 our government spent $3.8 Trillion. In 2022 they spent $6.2 Trillion, an increase of more than 60%.
Federal tax receipts from all sources (includes ~50% income taxes; 30% payroll taxes; 8% corporate) were $2.5 Trillion in 2012 and $4.8 in 2022. Presidents and Congress continue to spend far more money than received.
Our federal debt was $16 Trillion in 2012. And now it’s almost $32 Trillion. In only ten years the government increased our debt as much as in the previous 235 years. If a family or business behaved the same way, they would go bankrupt.
About 3 million fewer people are employed today than three years ago despite having several million open jobs. Most of the 3 million are receiving money from the government instead of paying taxes.
If Congress and Presidents had followed advice from Will Rogers for the last hundred years (see the quotes below), they would not be arguing over a Debt Ceiling. And I would not have thrown all these numbers at you today.
The answer to the opening question is… B.
Another multiple-choice question I could have asked is, “Why does Congress overspend?” But the number of “choices” would total 566 (one for each Representative and Senator in Congress, and one for the President).
The Super Bowl match up is set for Feb. 12. Philadelphia beat San Francisco 31-7 and Kansas City beat Cincinnati 23-20. Will Rogers, a proud Cherokee, will naturally root for the Chiefs.
Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“We never will get anywhere with our finances till we pass a law saying that every time we appropriate something we got to pass another bill along with it stating where the money is coming from.” DT #1733, Feb. 12, 1932
(Instead of being in Congress) “suppose you got $100,000 a year for working for a firm and you spent $200,000,000,000 of their money that you didn’t have and you didn’t know where you was going to get it, how long would you be working for that firm?” DT #1813, May 16, 1932
“Nobody can kick on honest deserving relief, and nobody can be blamed for kicking on relieving somebody when they won’t work. The government has got to find some way of telling them apart.” DT #2650, Feb. 1, 1935
“Half the people in the United States would rather collect one dollar from the government than get $10 from [working].” WA # 119, March 22, 1925
“As soon as we get used to this overdraft why it won’t be so bad, but it’s just while it’s new that everybody’s attention is focused on it. You know a Billion is getting so it’s a lot of dough, even in these hard times.” WA #440, May 31, 1931
“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