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As I write this piece, the national debt of the United States is rapidly approaching $31.5 trillion. To grasp the concept of how much debt that is, imagine first a stack of a million dollars; then imagine if that stack was multiplied into a million stacks of a million dollars; and then imagine 31-and-a-half stacks of a million stacks of a million dollars!
Physically, the U.S. dollar measures exactly six inches long, with two U.S. dollars laid end to end equaling one foot in length. 31.5 trillion dollars laid end to end would stretch out to 2,982,954,545.45 miles, which would wrap the circumference of our Earth 119,890 times; or reach the moon 12,486 times; or reach from Earth out past Neptune, the farthest planet in our solar system; or in the other direction, it would reach our sun 32 times, where I am certain that all 31 stacks of one million stacks of one million dollars would burn into nothingness.
Your personal taxpayer share of that debt is $246,866, and if you had that in a stack of $1 bills, they would lay end to end over 23 miles. You could start at our Coosa County Courthouse in Rockford and lay dollar bills end to end all the way to two miles past the Municipal Courthouse in Sylacauga.
I feel that it is probably safe to assume that the typical reader of this paper, like myself, doesn’t have that kind of money laying around. Yet, our elected members of Congress seem to think that it is fine and dandy to saddle us, the taxpayers, with that amount of debt.
I took the time recently to write my representative, Gary Palmer, and our two senators, Richard Shelby and Tommy Tuberville, to address my concerns of our current national debt and to advise for a “NO” vote in what was then a pending $1.7 trillion Omnibus Bill that at 4,155 pages was far too much for anyone to fully read and comprehend before they were to vote on it.
Thankfully, both Rep. Palmer and Sen. Tuberville voted “Nay,” but the “Consolidated Appropriations Act FY2023” was passed 225 to 201 in the House, with nine Republicans voting for the bill, and 68 to 29 in the Senate, with 18 Senate Republicans voting with the Senate Democrats, including outgoing Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby.
In addition to adding another $1.85 trillion to our national debt balloon, it adds as YOUR taxpayer share of this new debt an additional $14,122, or another 1.34 miles of one-dollar bills laid end to end upon the ground.
To his credit, Sen. Shelby did take the time to reply to my letter, stating that he shared my concerns regarding government spending, noting that: “discretionary spending only accounts for approximately 30% of federal spending, while mandatory spending accounts for the rest.” Shelby went on to add that he agreed “that the federal government must learn to spend only what it takes in and not continue to saddle future generations with staggering financial obligations. If Congress is going to seriously address the national debt, it must consider certain mandatory spending reforms.”
Funny, I thought that as our elected senator, that it was his job to put forth spending reforms for Congress to consider.
Thanks in part to Sen. Shelby’s reply, I took the time today to message both Sen. Tuberville and Sen. Shelby’s replacement, Sen. Katie Britt, to ask them both to do what Sen. Shelby had failed to do during his 44 years in the Congress, to take up the mantle of “mandatory spending reform” and to remember the burden that any future bill will place upon the everyday Alabama tax payer.
Nothing is ever truly “free.” Bacon costs money. Pork costs money. When your congressman brings federal dollars home to your state, they call it “bringing home the bacon.” But when a congressman from another state brings federal dollars home to his constituents, we like to call that “pork.” Regardless of what we call it, or where it goes, one must never forget that you personally are having funds seized from your every paycheck to finance it all. The federal government doesn’t own anything that can fund anything.
Everything the government gives away is taxpayer funded. Everything the government owns was paid for by we the people. Every federal building. Every desk and every pen inside of those buildings were purchased with funds that were taken from you through taxation. Every ounce of the alleged 8,134 metric tons of the U.S. gold reserves was paid for by we the taxpayers. And whenever Congress passes a new bill to use U.S. taxpayer dollars to give billions to foreign nations, or to fund new domestic projects, never forget that you personally are being forced to finance things like:
– $1.5 million to encourage people to eat outdoors in sunny Pasadena, California;
– $1.1 million for a solar array in cloudy Kirkland, Washington;
– $2 million for a group that promotes dirt-bike culture in Baltimore, Maryland;
– $3 million for water infrastructure, and another $2.5 million for harbor improvements for the tiny and remote island of St. George, Alaska (population 102);
– $500,000 for a skate park in Rhode Island;
– $4.8 million for an environmental impact report on the possible expansion of Chicago’s rail transit system;
– $4 million for “Soy-Enabled Rural Road Reconstruction” in Iowa;
– $2.1 million for a NIH study to “encourage Ethiopians to wear shoes;”
– $3 million for a NIH study to watch hamsters fight on steroids;
– $2.3 million for a NIH study to inject 6-month-old beagle puppies with cocaine, with a separate additional $187,500 for a NIH study to verify that kids love their pets;
– $13 million to expand the airport in the tiny city of Abbeville, Alabama, (population 2,358);
– $118,971 by the National Science Foundation to research if the Marvel Comics character Thanos from “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) could actually snap his fingers while wearing the infinity gauntlet, as depicted in the film.
None of this reckless spending by our elected officials in government will ever stop until we, as their constituents, contact them and demand that they remember how hard things are for us right now and demand that they STOP adding new debt to our already wearisome shoulders.
Do your part. Go online, look up how to contact your members of Congress, and send them a simple, and polite, reminder that you are why they have a job, and that their job is to protect you from further burdens.