FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The facts have been staring us in the face for some time now: our skyrocketing national debt will eventually take us down if Washington refuses to act.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/17/art.debt.clock.jpg caption="FILE PHOTO: A shot of the National Debt Clock on July 13, 2009 "]
The president of the federal reserve bank of Kansas City warns of a new financial crisis if the U.S. doesn't address its growing debt problems. He says mounting deficits might lead to inflation. If that happens the federal reserve would be forced to raise interest rates which would make paying the interest on our more than $12 trillion debt next to impossible.
The government needs to either cut spending or raise taxes - or both. Those are the only ways to address the expected deficit of $1.6 trillion this year alone. Last Friday behind closed doors President Obama signed a bill raising the national debt ceiling to more than $14 trillion.
Another ominous sign that U.S. debt is unsustainable: foreign demand for U.S. treasuries fell by a record amount in December - with China selling off more than $32 billion in treasuries. China is saturated with U.S. treasuries, which will force us to look elsewhere to finance our debt. Japan; Great Britain? Maybe for awhile... but how long before they say no?
Pres. Obama is planning to sign an executive order tomorrow that would set up a debt panel. This bipartisan commission is meant to come up with ways to reduce the deficit. It's a nice idea... but in reality it's meaningless.
The Senate already rejected a stronger version of this panel which would have had the power to force Congress to act. The president's commission won't have the power to force congress to do anything. In other words - another empty political gesture that means absolutely nothing.
Here’s my question to you: How confident are you Washington will address our skyrocketing debt?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
David in Herndon, Virginia writes:
Not confident at all. There are only 3 ways to do it: 1) raise taxes 2) cut spending or 3) devalue currency and just print money. If you're a politician, any of the above will cost you your job.
Thomas in Abilene, Texas writes:
I have little confidence. Once Washington sets up a "panel" or a "commission", you know nothing will ever get done. How stupid do politicians think we are? If they just named a czar, then we're talking serious stuff.
Pete in Georgia writes:
They will only address it after the next election cycle. We'll then get a whole new and improved collection of lies and promises. Some things NEVER change. This happens to be one of them.
Ted in Hillsboro, Oregon writes:
Neither party has any incentive at all to bring down the debt. Arthur Average who makes $35,000 a year has no weapons to fight against individual and corporate Wall Streeters who spend hundreds of millions to maintain the rules just as they are. We vote 'em in, then the money buys them.
Steve in Chapel Hill, North Carolina writes:
I am confident that the people who hold our debt will address it first and it's not going to be good.
Why are your panties in a bunch, Jack? In recession/depression, you spend money to boost the economy; taxes are down because fewer people are paying and the rest are paying less. As the economy improves, tax receipts go up and then it’s time for deficit reduction programs, not now. The sky is not falling.
Relax, Jack, it is only money. Cheney said deficits don't matter; would he lie to me?