We all hear how big the national debt is. They even have Debt Tickers that attempt to show it. The National Debt is currently at 10Trillion dollars. But what of the yearly impact on this number. From 2005-2007 the Debt rose by just under 1.1Trillion dollars. Or about 550 billion a year.
Tracking the growth of the federal budget from 2001-2007. We can see that the budgets grew from 1.9Trillion in 2001 to 2.77 Trillion in 2007. Each year it grew between 5 and 10%. During that same time Revenues were 2.1Trillion in 2001 and grew to 2.7 trillion in 2007.
Looking at the year by year numbers a single year hold in expenditures and a traditional year in GDP growth would put the budget back in balance for the short term. So in a general sense the point is valid. In fact this is exactly how we were able to turn deficits into surpluses in the Clinton years. Under the last four years of the Clinton Administration the Federal budget grew 100 billion dollars and tax receipts grew 500 billion. In some of those years the budgets did not grow at all. All it takes is someone with enough discipline to put it in place.
Since tax revenues are limited by GDP (as my previous blog explains) then the only options available are really to cut taxes, get the economy moving and limit spending. Since we are tasked with an ever increasing requirement for Entitlement Spending we will likely have to cut other items to get back in line. By “Freezing” the federal budget in total or at least in overall scope for a single year we can get ourselves back in line.
Democrats make this plan sound extreme and completely impossible. Many companies and individuals around this country have had to mange without a raise (or worse a cut in pay) at least once in their lives. Do we not think that government employees and agencies can do the same thing for a year? I think they can, in fact I think it is time we all expect from them what they have always forced upon us. I believe that until the impacts and returns of this financial crisis aer known we should hold all spending at current levels. If we could have the discipline to do this every other year and maintain a 5% growth rate we could be in a far better place in 4-8 years. But if instead we are to add another trillion in spending and raise taxes, slow the economy and lose revenues we dig even further into this hole. The impacts of that are likely to limit any possible return from the bailout and compound the problem.
The choice is so clear. If it is not made this November it will be made in the congressional elections of 2010 and again in 2012 but the climb out will take just that much longer. I would like to start now.