Time for Debt Counseling

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After the holiday shopping season (well, maybe not after this holiday shopping season), there are those Americans desperately in need of debt counseling.

They overspent on frivolous items, and now, unable to pay for such excesses, they need expert help.

I am referring, of course, to the federal government.

As the New York Times reported on Christmas Day, the Bush administration has asked Congress to increase the limit on the amount of debt which can be incurred by the federal government.

This year, the federal government spent a mere $157 billion more than it stole via taxation. Next year, the federal government will spend yet more than it will confiscate.

If you think this profligate waste of resources has to stop, you are not a politician. As the Times notes, Congress just increased the debt limit by $450 billion in July. What’s the total amount of mortgage that the federal government can attach to the labor and savings of every American man, woman and child?

A paltry $6.4 trillion.

Now ask yourself, how can anyone expect the poor (if not downright poverty-stricken) Congress to defeat all evil in the world, not to mention pay for Social Security and Medicare, with such a small amount of money?

Again, if you think you have a solution, you are likely not a politician. Thus, the Times quotes the senior Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, as saying that the Bush administration "is wanting our children and grandchildren to pay our bills" by raising the debt limit.

Well, yes and no. The Congress is already making everyone pay everyone else’s bills via taxation. It is a separate issue that the Congress and the President are obscenely over-spending at the expense of everyone.

What is to be done? Forget raising the debt limit. Try debt counseling. It is past time to cut up Uncle Sam’s credit cards and revoke his lines of credit.

Mr. Dieteman [send him mail] is an attorney in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.

© 2002 David Dieteman

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