Roger Chapin

Amid all the debate, confusion, obfuscation, lies and lack of candor about how to deal with our out-of-control federal budget crisis, one simple, rarely cited fact stands out from all the rest:

Our federal government borrows and spends roughly 70% more money than it takes in!

If the average American household with an income of $50,000 were somehow able to do the same thing, they’d be borrowing $35,000 a year and spending $85,000. In 14 years their debt would be up to $500,000, and at the historical interest rate of 5%, they’d be paying out $25,000 annually in interest, or 50% of their total income. Obviously it would not have been long before they went belly-up.

Hopefully, this little explanation will help folks to better comprehend the outrageous and shameful fiscal insanity and chicanery that is being selfishly foisted on us by Congress and the President. Here’s how bad it is:

Even in the highly unlikely event that today’s nearly $3.7 trillion federal budget (with some $2.2 trillion in revenues and a $1.5 trillion deficit) was balanced by the end of the next 10 years, today’s $14.3 trillion debt would have mushroomed to nearly 22 trillion – an additional $7.6 trillion, or over a 50% increase. Again, at an historical interest rate of 5%—the actual rate could be much higher (interest exceeded 18% under Carter), the interest on the then total national debt would be $1.1 trillion.

Even assuming an optimistic 3% annual increase in GDP, the $1.1 trillion in interest would equate to 35% of the then $3.1 trillion in revenues in 10 years. Just the interest, at 5%, on the added $7.6 trillion in debt would equate to over half of today’s cost of social security and two-thirds of Medicare’s.

And the longer we defer balancing the budget, the greater and more damaging will be the interest we’ll have to pay on the ever-spiraling debt. Taking 20 years to balance the budget, as even some Republicans are talking about, would increase the debt another $7.6 trillion to a staggering total of almost $30 trillion. Already Obama’s $4.1 billion average daily increase in the national debt is 2.5 times greater than what Bush ran up and 7.5 times greater than did Clinton.

Without question, both political parties and the President have been incredibly irresponsible and reckless in getting us to where we are today, callously choosing to put their own reelection before the economic and financial well-being of the country.

Roger Chapin

Roger Chapin has had a distinguished and varied career in both the nonprofit and entrepreneurial worlds.