Apples and Orchards

My congressman reports today:

Speaking of items on to-do lists, first and foremost in the nation’s capital is making the difficult decisions to get the runaway spending under control. The most recent estimate now puts this year’s deficit at $1.6 trillion.

How much is 1.6 trillion? A lot more than 1.6. Here’s the number written out: 1,600,000,000,000. A millimeter is really small, right? One point six trillion of them is still one point six million kilometers.

But then, a kilometer is shorter than a mile, so maybe it one point six million kilometers isn’t really all that far. Go to Google and type “1.6 million kilometers in miles”. It seems a BMW car racked up that much mileage on a treadmill, but don’t try it at home. It’s almost a million miles, 1.6 trillion millimeters. You could drive around the earth at the equator about 40 times: 1.6 trillion millimeters.

So the currently-projected federal deficit for 2011 is 1.6 trillion dollars.

My congressman also gave this example:

Here’s an example of how far things have gotten away from us. In 2007, the deficit was $160.7 billion, or 1.2 percent of GDP, and had decreased every year since 2004.

In 2006, the year before Nancy Pelosi took control of the Speaker’s gavel, CBO projected that the deficit in 2011 would be $117 billion. Because of the runaway spending since then, the 2011 deficit will be an astonishing 1,367% higher than what CBO predicted just five years ago.

OK, so how many times could you travel around the world at the equator before you’ve gone 160.7 billion millimeters (the 2007 actual federal deficit)? The first number (the 2007 federal deficit) in millimeters is 99,854 miles, or about four times around the earth.

For 117 billion (the 2006 projection of the 2011 federal deficit) in millimeters, it’s 72,700 miles, or about three times around the earth.

Only four years ago, the congressional budget office predicted a federal deficit for this year comparable to three laps around the earth, when converted to millimeters. Since a deficit means that the federal government is spending money it doesn’t have, I think that’s a bad thing. I believe that government, like people, should live within its means. That is, it should seek to spend no more than it receives, but if that happens anyway, the resulting imbalance should be corrected as soon as possible. That’s just the principle of the matter. But when I realize that the government’s debt is really on my shoulders as a taxpayer, and on the shoulders of my children, those three laps around the earth seem almost criminally irresponsible.

So has the hope and change introduced in 2006 resulted in an improvement? Well, if our goal is to consign all of our descendants to slavery, then yes, we’ve seen a great advancement toward our goal! Instead of the horrible three laps around the globe, we’re expecting to rack up in one year alone, the equivalent of 40 laps around the globe.

Either somebody is incompetent beyond belief, or somebody is actually trying to bring the United States to its knees. Which is more charitable? I’m not sure.

So I’m glad we’ve got people like my congressman in Washington, people who understand that the future of our country, and the future well-being of American children depends, at least partly, upon how responsibly we conduct ourselves in the present.

As Christian citizens, we have a responsibility to “render unto Caesar” with the wisdom we have received from God’s Word. Please try to understand these mind-boggling numbers that float across the news, and their connection to the future of our civilization. Certainly, God is in control, but He has also given Christian invididuals a responsibility to exercise good judgment and act accordingly. We have the privilege of voting in the United States, but also the constitutional right of free speech. Speech can be a powerful tool for good or ill. I know, because it’s most of what I do.

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