Take away the zeros

Here's how to explain the insanity that is the National Debt.

(from the fiscal year that ended Sept. 2013)

National Debt: $16.02 trillion
Federal Revenues $2.77 trillion
Federal Expenditures $3.45 trillion
Federal Deficit $0.68 trillion
New National Debt $16.70 trillion

Here's how to describe it in language a wage-earner can understand:

We earned $27,700

We spent $34,500

We ran up another $6,800 on the credit card, the balance of which is now $167,000! (That's six times our annual earnings.)

Politicians who refuse to acknowledge this lunacy are not fit to serve.

Spending myths

We're often told that we can reduce federal spending by eliminating "waste, fraud and abuse." Fine. But where? Seventy-five percent of the federal budget is in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Defense and federal pensions. That's where the money is, and that's were the savings must be found if we're to make real progress.

Here's the 2014 federal budget (in billions) at a glance:

Pensions 922 25.3%
Health Care 970 26.6%
Education 113 3.1%
Defense 820 22.5%
Welfare 396 10.8%
Protection 34 0.9%
Transportation 96 2.6%
Gen. Government 45 1.2%
Other Spending 32 0.9%
Debt Interest 224 6.1%

The wealthy and their "fair share"

Mr. Obama is fond of demonizing the rich and saying that the federal deficit wouldn't be such an issue if only they'd "pay their fare share." Here are some facts from the IRS:

The top 1% pay 22.7% of taxes.
The top 10% pay 50% of taxes.
The top 20% pay 65.3% of taxes.
The top 40% pay 84.3% of taxes.

It seems the wealthy are already paying up. In April 2011 the Wall Street Journal decided to check and see what would happen if we took all the money earned by the top 1% and found that it still wouldn't be enough to covert the federal deficit. Here's the real problem: 43% pay nothing at all!