Last month, the United States Congress passed a huge $1.3 trillion spending bill that averted a potential government shutdown. The bill was passed by large margins in both houses and signed by President Trump. The spending bill proved once and for all that there are few politicians in Washington concerned about the U.S. debt, which is now over $21 trillion.
Kimberly Amadeo, in the online publication, The Balance,” gives some of those spending specifics. She writes, “In the fiscal year 2019, the federal budget is $4.407 trillion. The U.S. government estimates it will receive $3.422 trillion in revenue. That creates a $985 billion deficit for October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019.” In other words, we can count on a least another trillion dollars being added to the U.S. debt over the next year because of this bill.
In honor of another fine example of the continued ineptitude of our elected officials, I offer some quotes by some famous, and not so famous, people about U.S. government spending and the budget.
From former President George W. Bush, “It’s clearly a budget. It’s got a lot of numbers in it.” Author and publisher William Feather explains the political attitude when he wrote, “A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it.”
“I will not be a party to stealing money from one group of citizens to give to another group of citizens; no matter what the need or apparent justification.” That quote was from President Grover Cleveland, who was U.S. President during the last decade of the 1800’s. It sounds heartless and without compassion to today’s Americans, who are so used to “entitlements.” It sounds especially harsh when you realize that he made the statement in reference to government helping an orphanage in New York City during a severe financial crisis. But he explained himself when he added, “Once the coffers of the federal government are open to the public, there will be no shutting them again.” That is why Congress has been so unwilling to deal with the out of control government spending. It’s hard to slow down that flow of money and benefits to voting citizens once they start. The voters won’t like it and may decide to put those elected officials out of a job.
Maybe that’s why another famous politician once wrote, “A democracy is not a form of government to survive. For it will only succeed until its citizens discover they can vote themselves money from the treasury, then they will bankrupt it.” By the way, that politician was Karl Marx, who wrote The Communist Manifesto and is considered the father of socialism.
John Adams was the second President of the United States. Being stuck between Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Adams tends to be overlooked. But he was a patriot and instrumental in the founding of this country. While a firm believer in our democratic form of government, he warned, “Remember, that democracy never lasts long. It wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
Another person wrote, “The best thing about a democracy is that the people get to decide their fate; majority rules. The worst thing about a democracy is that the people get to decide their fate; majority rules.” Okay, I just wrote that, but it’s still a pretty good quote. In other words, the majority can make good decisions for all. But the majority can also act in complete self-interest, without any consideration for current stability, or future generations.
We continue to blame the politicians in Washington for this mess; and they are such an easy target. But, remember, we elected them. And they know if they voted to cut one of our favorite programs, they can probably forget about getting our vote the next election. In one last quote, Pogo, from the old comic strip, sighs, “We have met the enemy… and he is us!”
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at [email protected]