Time to tame our debt

To ensure a bright future, be fiscally responsible in the present

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Our page avoids self- aggrandizement, but occasionally we like to admire the prescience of our predecessors.

Amid all the anger over our national debt spiking upward of $14 trillion, we came across an Augusta Chronicle editorial dated April 5, 1961. It was about a time capsule, sealed that previous April 3, placed in what was then the new Bank of Georgia building in Atlanta.

Then-U.S. Rep. James C. Davis wrote a letter to be sealed inside the capsule and read by the citizens of the future, in which he mentioned "that in 1961 the national debt was $290 billion and the annual interest rate on that debt approximately $9 billion," The Chronicle wrote in 1961.

"The way things are going," our editorial page continued, "our own counterparts -- the taxpayers -- in 2011 A.D. will refer to that 'small' debt as something that existed in the 'good ol' days.'"

Too right. If only we could trim the debt to $290 billion, that would be considered a roaring fiscal success.

As for the interest on our debt, The Examiner in Washington, D.C., reported this grim scenario in 2009: "Servicing the nation's staggering national debt down the road will cost more than the current annual Pentagon budget -- including funding wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. By 2019, the federal government will pay more than $700 billion a year on its debt load."

The 1961 time capsule was scheduled to be opened this year, but we haven't heard if it has been opened, or even if the current proprietors of the old bank building even know where the capsule might be.

But if we sank a time capsule today, for the people of 2061, what letter might we write to them?

A letter of apology, perhaps? Or maybe a greeting card that reads, "Sorry we recklessly bankrupted our future."

The laws of physics can't permit us to travel back in time to change the past. But the laws of common sense can change our future if we navigate through our present using fiscal sanity. And that means serious, deep budget cuts and more equitable, less oppressive taxes.

Keep renewing your subscription to The Chronicle so you can see this editorial updated by our successors in 2061 -- hopefully with a brighter outlook.

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joehill
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joehill 04/25/11 - 02:17 am
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lame

lame

Riverman1
79588
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Riverman1 04/25/11 - 05:07 am
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There's a commercial out now

There's a commercial out now from the U.S. Postal Service that demonstrates the governmental spending mindset to me. It is about shipping items and how THEY don't have a fuel surcharge as private shippers do. Well, guess who is paying that surcharge? Guess who is paying the surcharge on our national debt while you are at it?

airbud7
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airbud7 04/25/11 - 08:06 am
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And the numbers keep

And the numbers keep climbing...http://www.usdebtclock.org/
I've been hearing this my entire life and I have come to the conclusion...Its Just Numbers on Paper!!!

ADAMS
19
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ADAMS 04/25/11 - 08:25 am
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For the people of 2061,God's

For the people of 2061,God's word will not return void."Heaven and earth will pass away". So, why is Republicans and Tea party express their concern for future debts when their will be no world in 2061? I believe and trust whats written in the bible, so Pres. Obama 12 years budget plan fix is what we can live for.So, will the world still exists for our grandchildren, who conservatives think will reap the burden of the federal government spending deficits?

nofanofobama
6750
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nofanofobama 04/25/11 - 09:00 am
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riverman saw the same

riverman saw the same commercial and was appalled by it for the same reasons. the post office with the use of deficet spending and tax payer backing is bragging about it... no surcharge for fuel..no wonder we are broke

TheFederalist
1
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TheFederalist 04/25/11 - 03:37 pm
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Well, that begs the question,

Well, that begs the question, just how bad must it really get before our government puts away its petty party politics, stops the endless demagoguery and actually makes the painful choices that will finally right our financial ship? Methinks it will be in 2016, when Darth Hussein is no longer able to destroy our country any further, and it is also when China will overtake us and rise to become the largest economy in the world. Once we are utterly humiliated, our credit rating is trashed, we are in an endless downward spiral of depression and debt, the entitlement crowd is rioting in the streets, and we owe more than we can ever hope to repay in the next 25 years, then maybe the government will finally see the writing on the wall. I just hope it won't be too little, too late.

seenitB4
81676
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seenitB4 04/25/11 - 03:52 pm
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TheFed...You are so right....

TheFed...You are so right.... we could see riots in the street...just like Greece.....you know what happens when freebies go bye-bye
So what is Greece doing?
As already mentioned, the government has started slashing away at spending and has implemented austerity measures aimed at reducing the deficit by more than €10 billion ($13.7 billion). It has hiked taxes on fuel, tobacco and alcohol, raised the retirement age by two years, imposed public sector pay cuts and applied tough new tax evasion regulations.

Are people happy with this?
Predictably, quite the opposite and there have been warnings of resistance from various sectors of society. Workers nationwide have staged strikes closing airports, government offices, courts and schools. This industrial action is expected to continue.

How are Greece's European neighbors helping?
Led by Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, all 16 countries which make up the euro zone have agreed a rescue plan for their ailing neighbor. The package, which would only be offered as a last resort, will involve co-ordinated bilateral loans from countries inside the common currency area, as well as funds and technical assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Rather
56
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Rather 04/25/11 - 04:18 pm
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How many Americans do you

How many Americans do you think understand the difference between the Deficit and the National Debt? I would bet it's over 50% of them.

justthefacts
20448
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justthefacts 04/25/11 - 04:23 pm
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They are both represented by

They are both represented by big red numbers.

dani
12
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dani 04/25/11 - 04:45 pm
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I would agree that 50% has no

I would agree that 50% has no idea, look how they voted in 2008.

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