By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
In a few short days, our Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo will make the most important vote of his career. He will either vote ?yes? to raise the federal government debt ceiling of $14.2 trillion ($14,200,000,000,000), thus letting the federal government borrow about $2 trillion more during the next two years, or he will vote ?no.?
LoBiondo is under lots of pressure. You can?t pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV these days without being told by some government or Wall Street ?expert? that we face a nationwide disaster if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2.
They remind us daily that if the federal government doesn?t quickly borrow $2 trillion more, the federal government will default ? not pay all of its bills, not meet its obligations, and not keep all its promises for the first time in our history.
These ?experts? say this will bring some hardship to almost every American, and I agree.? When investors around the world dump U.S. government debt, everyone with ?safe? treasury bond and bond funds will lose some money, and interest rates will rise, for a while.
President Obama also claims that Social Security checks won?t go out, soldiers and veterans won?t get paid, etc. But these are blatant lies.
It is true that the federal government now spends $3.6 trillion each year, but ?only? collects $2 trillion in taxes. That is why our federal government now borrows 44 cents for every dollar it spends.
But $2 trillion is still a lot of money coming into the U.S. Treasury each year. The Social Security trust fund alone takes in enough to pay everyone?s retirement and disability checks. There is also plenty for our veterans, soldiers, and other essential services.
But the federal government won?t have millions of dollars to pump sand and pay flood insurance to protect owners of million-dollar homes on our beaches, or pay Stockton College to hold free concerts at Dante Hall, or pay the post office to drop three pieces of junk mail in my mailbox six days a week, or pay disgraced ex-New York Congressman Anthony Weiner the $1.12 million retirement package all members of Congress get after one or two terms, etc.
Millions of other citizens now depend on money from the federal government, either directly or through grants to?thousands of corporations, charities, and even churches and synagogues. But somehow, nobody starved in this country and we prospered for more than 200 years without this much federal government spending ? even during the Great Depression. We can do it again.
What will cause far more hardship and damage is to make a deal that will let this borrowing and spending continue. Sooner or later, there will be a day of reckoning when this debt must be repaid or repudiated. The longer we wait, the bigger the debt ? and the greater the hardship and chaos.
Can we avoid massive cuts in government spending by taxing the ?rich?? Right now 47 percent of American families pay no income tax. Most of them file tax returns each year just to get refunds and ?tax credits? on taxes they don?t pay. The richest 5 percent of Americans already pay roughly 44 percent of the taxes collected by the federal government.
So even if you grabbed 100 percent of the income of this small group of ?rich? Americans, you wouldn?t come close to covering the $1.6 trillion ($1,600,000,000,000) deficit each and every year.
Tax big corporations? Corporations, unlike the government, can?t spend what they don?t take in. So if you raise taxes on corporations, you simply raise the prices of everything we buy from them.
Vote out the big-spending politicians in the next election? Not if they buy enough votes and support with borrowed money.
Balanced budget amendment? First, we could never get two-thirds of Congress and three-quarters of the state legislatures to adopt it. Second, look how loopholes and gimmicks made the balanced budget provision of the New Jersey State Constitution almost useless.
Too many alcoholics and drug addicts hit rock bottom before they come to terms with their addiction. They first have to lose their health, their families, their jobs and their money.
Will this country have to hit rock bottom before our politicians deal with our government?s addiction to borrowed money? Or will Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo vote ?no? on raising the debt ceiling in the days ahead?
You can reach him at (800) 471-4450, (609) 625-5008, or (202) 225-6572. You can also email him at www.house.gov/lobiondo/contact.shtml.
(Reprinted from July 20, 2011 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/snt/news/index.php/politics/13866-will-lobiondo-be-part-of-the-debt-crisis-solution.html#disqus_thread)
Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears on 1400AM talk radio 3-4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and on 92.1FM 8-9 a.m. Saturdays. For information see www.libertyandprosperity.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Shore Diner on Fire and Tilton roads in Egg Harbor Township.
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