Government Spending Is Ruining Families
The economic picture in the United States gets worse with each passing day of the Obama administration, and families are especially hard-hit. While the damage is already devastating, the ramifications will continue wreaking havoc on today's children when they are adults starting their own families.
Comedians refer back to President Obama's 2008 campaign theme, "Hope and Change," declaring that most of us can only hope to have some change left after paying bills. A survey of 1,100 Americans taken in October 2012 showed that 41 percent of respondents did not have more than $500 in savings at the time of the survey, which included "dual-income earners with ... big mortgages and big credit card bills." Further, 54 percent had no savings plan, and 45 percent thought they would never be able to save money.
The picture did not look any better in June 2013, when a survey of 1,000 adults found that 76 percent are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Half of those surveyed had less than a three-month cushion in savings, and 27 percent had no savings at all.
It's even worse for the federal government. Just click on the Debt Clock to see profligate spending in real time. The U.S. national debt is just shy of $17 trillion! That amounts to a debt per citizen of $53,431 -- that means every man, woman and child who is a United States citizen would need to pay that much money each to retire our current national debt. The debt per taxpayer is a whopping $148,091.
What was the national debt when President Obama took office? According to Mark Knoller, White House correspondent for CBS News, it was $10.626 trillion. Mr. Knoller pointed out in March 2012, "The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office." In the first three years and two months of Obama's presidency, he increased the debt more than the entire eight years of President Bush's presidency. In March 2012, it was $15.566 trillion, and it now stands at $16.901 trillion and is estimated to top $20 trillion by the time Obama leaves office in 2016 -- an 87-percent increase in his two terms.
And on the job front? Sadly, the economy is stagnant. Unemployment rates rose in more than half the states in July 2013. Even though the unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.4 percent, that "official unemployment rate," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), does not reflect the real unemployment rate (the U-6), which puts the rate at 14 percent in July 2013. The U-6 definition is enlightening: "Persons marginally attached to the labor force are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule."
Thanks in part to ObamaCare, those part-time workers' ranks will soon swell -- 97 percent of the job growth in the United States in the first half of 2013 is due to part-time jobs. Is this "change we can believe in"? The Democrats who passed ObamaCare in the dead of the night with zero Republican votes can add this unintended consequence to the debacle that is the Affordable Care Act. In addition, several major employers are cutting health care coverage for employees' spouses in order to save money. Thousands of families across the nation are going to be in another bind. The University of Virginia and United Parcel Service (UPS) announced the cuts to their employees, both citing ObamaCare as the reason. The UPS decision affects 15,000 people. So President Obama's demagoguery about people keeping their health care plans if they like them was just to garner votes for his 2012 election.
Families are being hit with bills, taxes, and a bleak employment picture. It's no wonder so many have no savings -- they are barely getting by now. With the housing crash, many couples who thought they could sell their home and have a retirement cushion now find their homes "underwater" -- owing more money on the house than it is worth in today's market.
It is a shame families' hard-earned dollars go toward so much waste and abuse in the government, too. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found $37 million paid to farmers who are deceased through the farm subsidy program. Food stamp recipients are turning around and illegally selling their benefits back to grocery stores for cash. The Kansas attorney general recovered $33 million of taxpayer funds in Medicare fraud enforcement efforts in Fiscal Year 2013. That's $33 million in fraud in one state in one year. Imagine what the total in Medicare fraud is for all 50 states.
Unless and until the government reins in spending, cuts wasteful programs, stops fraud, and cuts the size of the government, Americans will continue to be saddled with mountainous national debt. That debt has to be paid through taxes -- and that means taxpayers get the bill.
Congress should oppose any additional spending without a plan for cutting government spending and balancing the budget within five years. Further, they should reject any and all tax increases that will cripple families, devastate the economy, and consolidate more power in government.
Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D. is senior fellow of Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute. See ConcernedWomen.org for more about the nation's fiscal crisis.