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Obama has said many things, but one speech stands out as true. Following are excerpts from Senator Obama’s March 16, 2006, address to the Senate during a debate regarding Bush’s request to raise our National Debt ceiling: “Mr. President, I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem.
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.
“Over the past five years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 (actually it increased from $5.28 to $8.27, or $2.99 trillion) trillion. That is ‘trillion’ with a ‘T.’ That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers … Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand … And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget … If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies … tax breaks have not been paid for by reductions in Federal spending, and thus the only way to pay for them has been to increase our deficit to historically high levels and borrow more and more money … we must remember that the more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might not be aligned with ours.
“Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”
Obama’s speech has been reduced due to the SUN’s requirement to not exceed 500 words. The full speech from the Congressional Record can be found at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2006-03-16/pdf/CREC-2006-03-16-pt1-PgS2236.pdf.
In Obama’s 2008 campaign for president, he said raising the debt ceiling was unAmerican, unpatriotic and immoral.
In the 2006 speech, Obama also said he was co-sponsoring a Pay-go Amendment (Pay-go was in effect from 1991-2002 when it expired). Pay-go is allegedly a provision that expenditures must be “budget neutral;” any spending bill must include spending cuts or revenue increases such that no deficit results. The Pay-go system was actually reestablished as a standing rule of the House of Representatives (Clause 10 of Rule XXI) on Jan. 4, 2007, by Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic-controlled 110th Congress. After six years of Pay-go under Pelosi and Obama, the debt rose from $8.67 trillion to $16.43 trillion.
What would our debt be today if we didn’t have Pay-go those six years?