Federal Debt

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    Yes, the long-run has arrived: annual interest on national debt pushing half a trillion dollars

    Yesterday the Heritage Foundation announced the milestone of 1,000 days without a federal budget. Along with a video, reposted below, the writer Mike Brownfield noted more than $200 billion in annual interest payments. If only. Robert Thorpe, author of Reclaim Liberty: 3-Step Plan for Restoring our Constitutional Government, has written an open letter correcting the number. He acknowledges that it is somewhat true; it is more than $200 billion per year. In fact, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, in 2011 it was closer to $454.4 billion. Please see: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/ir/ir_expense.htm... In that the true amount is almost double of what Heritage reported, and is actually approaching one-half of a trillion dollars annually, it is very important, and would be truly sobering for our citizens, if Heritage set the record straight and publically revised its statement: It bears repeating again. 2011 National Debt Interest Paid: $454,393,280,417.03. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QG0stsk3Ljs Thorpe is a proponent of a state-led, Article V amendments convention for some form of balanced budget amendment, as am I. Of course, one would still have to decide what needs to be done to close the fiscal deficit at the federal level, but it would impose some accountability towards that outcome. I encourage people to read this commentary from him on the matter: The States Must Lead Our Nation Back from the Brink By Robert J. Thorpe Irresponsible and Unpatriotic On July 3, 2008 candidate Obama said that it was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic" that President George W. Bush had added $4 Trillion of new debt in 96 months to our nation… and I agree. But then, President Obama went on to add that same amount of additional new debt ($4 Trillion) in one third the amount of time… in only 31 months. Thanks to the Tea Parties and other concerned pro-Constitutional groups, we had a revolution of landslide victories in November 2010, electing scores of very fine, fiscally conservative people in local, state and national elections. Unfortunately, their attempts at slowing Washington borrowing, spending and growth has been minimal at best, and perhaps even disastrous in light of our high unemployment, dismal economy and mounting national debts. Gallup and other polls report that 70% of the American people want some type of balance budget amendment (BBA) or borrowing / spending restrictions placed upon the federal government, similar to the fiscal requirements that 49 of our 50 states operate under. But during the past forty plus years, congress has refused to pass any meaningful financial restrictions upon itself. Congress is unwilling to give up their unlimited power to borrow and spend… an important authority that Washington insiders use freely for staying in political office for life. It is politically much easier to quietly borrow money, that future generations will have to pay back, then it is to raise taxes. Washington can no more be expected to change and restrain itself, than an addict can be expected to cure their own addictions. We need to turn to our Constitution, and to the words of our Founders, to instruct us in truly changing “business as usual” within Washington:
    Fergus Hodgson, January 25, 2012
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    Supercommittee on verge of failure: Time for a new approach

    From MarketWatch: The U.S. congressional committee assigned to draft a plan for cutting $1.2 trillion from the nation’s deficit over 10 years is expected to announce Monday that it has failed, according to media reports Sunday. Is anyone surprised? State Sen. Curtis Olafson (R—Edinburg, N.D.) has just shared these comments, which capture my sentiments precisely: How much longer is the American public going to continue to blindly place their faith in Washington, DC, in the expectation that they will take action to solve this challenge? The Balanced Budget Amendment was voted down and will continue to be voted down, and the Super Committee is a failure. Do you think that perhaps the time has come for us to try something different? Olafson is the national spokesman for the National Debt Relief Amendment, an initiative of RestoringFreedom.org, one which I have reported on and argued in favor of. On account of his prime sponsorship, it first passed in North Dakota, and then, while I was working in Louisiana, it passed there too. Easy to understand, it reads: “An increase in the federal debt requires approval from a majority of the legislatures of the separate States.” Yes, the time has more than come for a different approach: accountability led by the state legislatures and an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to constrain federal debt. The NDRA offers an historic fiscal solution, if we overcome convention fears. Before an amendments convention can go ahead, 34 states must call for one—and that is yet to occur since original ratification. (There have been more than 34 resolutions, but on different amendments proposals.) As the map above indicates, though, many states are now in the process of making the NDRA a reality.
    Fergus Hodgson, November 20, 2011