With the Democrats’ recent victory in the mid-term elections, the right-wing rhetoric machine that is Fox News is churning out the bad news. A Democratic Congress signals higher taxes, a major victory for terrorists around the world, an economic and moral downturn, and a less secure America. I’m not even going to comment on most of this stuff as it’s little more than typical Fox News, but I do think that higher taxes is just what we need.
According to the CIA’s World Factbook, the United States has an external debt of $8.8 trillion. To put that in perspective, the total national debt of the entire world is $36.8 trillion (all countries have some degree of national debt with only seven exceptions). When Clinton left office, the national debt was $5.6 trillion, with a debt ceiling of $5.95 trillion. Now it is approaching the $9 trillion limit that was set earlier in 2006.
Part of this tremendous increase in the national debt is due to the Bush tax cuts. The ones that put an average of $347 a year in the hands of the 78 million people with the lowest 60% of incomes, while putting $53,000 in the hands of the richest 1% of Americans every year. Over ten years (the tax cuts were enacted in 2001 and are set to expire in 2010), the plan will cost about $2.4 trillion.
The other major issue when discussing the national debt is Iraq. The war costs us $6,300 every second, for a total of $345 billion so far. In Ames, that cost is nearly $41 million dollars, enough to hire 710 public school teachers for one year. These figures don.t factor in things like care for wounded veterans, equipment replacement, and interest on the loans we take out to pay for the war.
The tax cuts and the war in Iraq are both expensive. We.ve established that. But when you look at them together, it begs the question, .Why on Earth are we having tax cuts in the middle of a war?. It doesn’t make any sense, and only serves to encourage the American people to be apathetic about the war. Why should you care about Iraq? It.s not like it affects you in any way.
The Americans who care most about the Iraq war, who are affected the most by it, are the soldiers and their families. The rest of us have very little direct motivation to care. There.s no draft, and our taxes aren’t any higher. The worst that we get is high gas prices, which is mostly due to big oil rather than the turmoil in the Middle-East. Despite all of this, Iraq was still the number one issue in voters. minds when they went to the polls. American voters, you have my admiration.
With the way things are going now, the veterans of the war and their children will be burdened with paying off our national debt. This is absolutely wrong. Our soldiers have suffered enough without having to worry about a multi-trillion dollar national debt. We demand things like higher teacher pay, a great education system, and other expensive social programs, but we also ask for lower taxes. The government needs our tax dollars to run the country, plain and simple. We need to realize that.