‘As far as the eye can see’

March 25, 2012 

One doesn’t have to look too far to see the effects of a struggling economy; Macon’s only Sears store ceasing operations, Belk shuttering one of its two Macon locations and Certus Bank reducing its local work force, not to mention gas prices. These are but a few of the signs that point to anemic growth.

Souring data that may have some impact on the presidential race was disclosed this week regarding America’s debt. The U.S. Treasury Department’s Bureau of Public Debt released the most recent figures that indicate not all is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows for President Barack Obama’s economic swag.

The debt increased $4.939 trillion since Obama assumed office three years and two months ago.

The fundamental political consequences could be larger than anyone in the White House wants to admit. Why? Because the most current figures indicate the National Debt stands at $15.566 trillion. It was $10.626 trillion on January 20, 2009, the day Obama was sworn-in as commander-in-chief.

The large creature in the economic chamber that the president isn’t talking about is the fact that the increase over three years is far greater than what President George W. Bush endured during his entire eight years.

To make matters worse for our current president and his economic squad, the national debt now exceeds 100 percent of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

Since the 2008 presidential campaign Obama has often faulted Bush 43 for the rocketing debt, claiming the previous president paid for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the Medicare prescription drug program, with money that was on loan.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s team developed a budget that indicates our nation’s debt will top $16.3 trillion by the end of this year, $17.5 trillion next year and when I turn 61 in 2022, the U.S. is projected to carry a $25.9 trillion debt burden.

It was the Budget Committee Chairman, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin who warned last year that there is no end in sight under current government spending.

Ryan did battle in spring 2011 and lost the debt-reduction public relations war with the White House and his own party, quite frankly. Even former Speaker Newt Gingrich initially labeled Rep. Ryan’s Medicare plan as radical and his proposal as “right-wing social engineering.”

As it turns out, Ryan is one of few members of Congress that has it right when it comes to the debt load and has defended the idea that while painful it will be necessary in obtaining a debt-free nation. His plans include slashing spending and putting our “balance due” on a downward trajectory without delay.

Part of the “Win the Future” program currently touted by Obama insists on “taking responsibility for our deficits, by cutting wasteful, excessive spending wherever we find it.”

The president and Geithner may want to ask Rep. Ryan over to the White House for consultation because new polling data released by Rasmussen Daily Tracking gives the president only a one-point advantage over Mitt Romney (46 percent to 45 percent), in a hypothetical match up. Only half of likely voters (50 percent) give the president a thumbs-up vis-à-vis his job performance.

If the fall campaign concentrates on the economy, and I suspect Romney will see that it does, Obama will have a difficult time defending his besieged economy and his own budget projections. Under a second Obama term scenario, based on his administration’s estimates, it would mean a massive debt increase by 87 percent.

As Mark Knoller, CBS News White House correspondent pointed out in a recent Political Hot Sheet report, Obama’s most recent projections of the National Debt indicate an escalation “as far as the eye can see.”

Those projections, if left unchecked, seem crippling for the U.S. economy and a disaster for the next generation of taxpayers.

In 32 weeks voters will get to decide if we stay the course or make corrections.

Kenny Burgamy serves as a marketing consultant and is co-host of the Kenny B. Charles E., TV, radio and Internet program.

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