• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Why Isn't the National Debt a Sexy Story?

    Speaking at yesterday’s Bloggers Briefing, conservative filmmaker Stephen Bannon held up a copy of USA Today to demonstrate the challenge of getting Americans to take seriously this country’s debt crisis.

    On the front page was a banner headline, “U.S. owes $62 trillion.” Underneath the headline and above the fold was a photo of a tearful Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) from Monday’s late-afternoon press conference. The two stories had nothing to do with each other, but no doubt USA Today had an idea which one was more likely to sell papers.

    “Look, this paper sums it up today,” Bannon explained to the Heritage audience. “We can spend all our time with the Anthony Weiners and have the media chase that and we can go around, spend this and do that and … suck up a news cycle for 48 or 72 hours. Or you can focus on the ticking time bomb that is going to blow this country up and make your children paupers.”

    Bannon certainly understands the fiscal challenges facing America today. Last year he directed “Generation Zero,” a film about the economic collapse in 2008 and the consequences of decisions made by the Baby Boomer generation.

    Don’t get me wrong about Weiner. This was a legitimate news story. But does it deserve equal weight or attention to the real crisis facing America? Our country as we know it will be changed forever if we don’t do something about our fiscal mess.

    Yet it seems the sex-obsessed media would rather elevate Weiner to compete with or even supersede our fiscal and economic challenges.

    Imagine if the media had devoted the same amount of ink and airtime to the recent Peterson Foundation fiscal summit. Six think tanks — from the right, left and center — put forward proposals for solving America’s debt crisis. It was an unprecedented moment with a wide array of ideas. It’s not a one-day story; these proposals should be discussed and debated in perpetuity.

    After all, when in our country’s history have these issues been more relevant?

    Eighty-four new Republican freshman were swept into Congress last fall to do something about the country’s $14 trillion debt. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has put forward a credible budget proposal to tackle the problem. A showdown awaits between President Obama and congressional Republicans over the debt limit. And it’s now been 770 days since the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate passed a budget resolution.

    While it’s certainly not as sexy to write about the debt, it is arguably more important.

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Why Isn't the National Debt a Sexy Story?

    1. Roy Keith, Tye, TX says:

      Given all the cloak-and-dagger political moves, previously and of late, I often wonder if there are a group of people in Washington, DC sitting around making up distractions for the new media and the American public to latch onto and follow, so that the real news gets lost in the turmoil? Someone has to know this stuff, yet we never hear of it in the major news media! This is real news, and it's not a basketball game or pornographic pictures sent by twitter or text message. Hell, this probably rates lower than the latest re-release of "Gone with the Wind" on blue-ray, if there is such a thing.

    2. Bobbie says:

      Clever cover! Mr. Wiener almost looks like he has a smirk in his smile? For everyone that wants a job in the public eye, has to be morally acceptable to be trusted. Democrat Wiener is able to lie to the American people while the democrat leader Pelosi, decides to find it unacceptable as well as unbelievable, even with the camera as witness! Pelosi exemplifies explicitly, the democrat derelict behavior of wasting tax payers earnings while condescending the witnessing of this appalling public figure by investigating what is already on camera? Talk about inept! This is the “change”d America! Improper, inappropriate leadership, abuse of authority, scams schemes and cover-ups. cheaters and peters. All expenses paid by the tax payer. I don't want my tax dollars going to this misrepresentation of America. Government runs on their own rules at their whim while dictating terms of elimination to America's freedoms and liberties. This isn't America's character! Nothing to want “hope” for!!!

    3. George Colgrove, VA says:

      May not be sexy – but 80% of us are watching and 2/3rds of us are not liking what we are seeing.

      $61 TRILLION in unfunded obligations REQUIRE hearings and prosecutions!

      No more increases in the debt ceiling – period. Cut the government TODAY!

      Today – due to a lack of interest and dereliction of duty, the federal workforce and congress will drive us $4 billion more in debt. That is to the tune of $1,500 per federal worker!

      Incidentally, we were told that WE (each of our households) are responsible for something like $530,000 for this unfunded liabilities. Kind of offensive since we the civilian citizens have been voting against this for 7 years and in increasing numbers have been demanding a stop to the madness. Think about this, the deficit this year (created by the federal workforce as they write the core budget, and congress who rubber stamps it and passes it on) is $1.6 trillion. There are 2.7 million overpaid – over numbered bureaucrats and elected officials that are currently dragging our economy in the tank. This works out to debt spending of $592,600 per federal worker – ANNUALLY! Who's responsible?

    4. George Colgrove, VA says:

      We rightfully called an aggregate of $40 billion +/- of losses in Enron, WorldCom and Madoff a crime due to illegal busness practices which are the SAME EXACT PRACTICES the federal workers have been doing with this mess. The feds however have done it a thousand fold and get away with it.

      You want a sexy story media (and I think it will sell papers, books and online advertising). Start treating the federal workforce and the congressional members who schemed to make this mess in the same way you did Nixon. "Just follow the money" as they said back then. I'm sure you will find many "deep throats".

      The fact is the debt level and the debt ceiling IS a big story and if you in the media want a job in the next few years, I would do what is neccessary to expose this story and ALL the people involved. This is ripe territory for the NEW Woodward and Berstiein. The story is obvious, the $61 tillion unfunded (never to be funded) liablilties; the $14.3 national debt; the $1.6 trillion deficit; the ongoing plans for more deficit spending.

      The story here is DC federal worker and congressional greed. You in the media have given this cesspool too much leeway. But you are private sector just like the rest of us. Where Obama is transparent is how little he respects the private sector. You in the media are just one step away from being thrown under the bus just like the rest of us.

      So make a story and a name for yourself. Expose DC. Be the first. I feel there will be BIG money in that enterprise. The federal government is not into transparancey or oversight of itself – since they are pretty much in charge of both.

      Challenge: Be the first person to write this book: "The Book of the FED – The Federal Government's [Workforce's] Journey to bring America Down" Then highlight the corruption, the fraud, the inefficencies and the many redundant and overlapping agencies and programs. You could fill volumes. Org charts that shows the top four layers comprising of only GS15's and GS14's with GS15's reporting to GS15!!! What business would do that? The fact that 50% of federal credit card use by the fedeal workers was for personal use for example with a lions share of these cards unpaid. There can be humor, frustrations and whatever. We the people, understand all to well how DC no longer represents the American people. I do think exposing DC will be big business and a big money maker for quite some time.

      Would that be sexy?

    5. ginger White, chicag says:

      Please make the story about the debt relatable to people, be graphic! That's why Mr Weiners weiner is such a news story. The public is fasinated with reality stars, it's the same concept. People like to live vicariously through others. You can report on the debt all you want but you must relate, in graphic detail, what that means. Ask your selfs as journalists how do I make this thrilling, a vicarious thrill to the reader. People want to slip themselves into the main character…The debt and how it relates to me!

    6. Stirling, Pennsylvan says:

      It's not a "sexy" story because it says that our government fiscal policy is a complete failure (both parties contributed to it). I contend that in addition it would reflect badly on our current president who has ALL the liberal media's investment in his success and FAILURE ultimately tied to them as well. It's clearly easier to put "weiner" under the perverbial bus then to lay blame on the annointed one.. The debt problem will become a front page story when the debt crashes the current system since it's a doomsday story which would be more impressive and easier to spin by the media.

    7. Kevin H, college par says:

      Anyoen who calls for not raising the debt limit needs to go see a doctor. It would singlehandedly destroy the economy (domestic and international) and increase debts and deficits beyond what we can imagine. Basically, it's buying things on a credit card, then refusing to pay. Or singing up for a mortgage and then refusing to pay. These obligations were already made and not it's making sure we can pay for things we have already signed the contract on. What happens when you don't pay your mortgage or pay yoru credit card bills – you default and end up owing any more. Whoever calls for American to do that wants to see America destroyed. They should be put on terrorist watch lists.

      One president raised the debt limit more times than any other president – far and away. One president raised the debt limit 17 times, where the 2nd most is 7 times. That president is Ronald Reagan – he raised the debt limit 17 times. Obama has rasied it 3. According to all of you who are against it, Reagan was most reckless fiscal president we've ever had.

    8. Pingback: Boy, am I stuffed…Daily Dive 9 June 11 | adeliemanchot

    9. Stirling, Pennsylvan says:

      Kevin, This country brings in 2.5 Trillion in taxes . Our debt obligations for our treasury notes is arround 1/10 of that, therefore no default will occur. Please look it up. What it would mean is that the remainder has to be spent on priorities, and some wasteful programs would be cut or modified to balance the difference. When so many families are cutting back their lives to get by doesn't the government have a responsibility to set an example??

    10. Pingback: Ojalá la deuda nacional concitara la atención de una noticia sexy | Heritage Libertad

    11. Carol,AZ says:

      Rep. Weiner , (D.NY) the new age "sexy icon" who couldn't recognize his own body part ( called pecker-gate here) for one week, and tearfully explained to America, he was framed by cyber space is the recent poster boy for gov't impudence.

      Amazingly, America has been forwarned for months of the coming fiscal meltdown, end of this month, described as a double dip recession:

      Translation.

      The fiscal callaspe of our economy, banking system, dollar devaluation, bond market etc,.and both Dems and Reps are throwing the same tantrums, atrophied for any corrective action based on the lack of, the same body part.

      Its clear they can't think with their brain and too cowardly and too lazy to lead our nation through what we all know; is no leadership from our Executive branch.

      Maybe, if we all call it "sexy" someone beside Paul Ryan, (Rep, WI) will hand-out some of these "body parts" at the next session of the House Budget Comt..

      Hollywood can buy the movie rights;

      producing , " When Viagra failed".

      Arnold, the inseminater can take the lead role, while el Senor Obama plays golf. Hollywood will rush to see this new age art form, donating all profits to, "emerging nations" like Hatiti.

      The rest of us with functioning brains watch helplessly as $62 trillion dollars cintinue to burn away America future as certain as the firestorm that we have been fighting here, in AZ for eleven days.

    12. Ken Smith says:

      I don't see a post or comment that addresses WHY we have all this debt. Here's the answer: The Federal Reserve is a private bank. Banks make their money off of interest. The Federal Reserve's biggest client is the U.S. Government. It was created that way from the first conspiratorial talks in 1910 to the establishment of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913. The more debt the U.S. Government takes on, the more interest it owes.

      The structure is opaque to most Americans because most Americans have their income taxes withheld from their pay checks instead of paying it directly to the Internal Revenue Service. But for those of you who have ever written a check to the Internal Revenue Service, look at the endorsement on the back. It is NOT stamped "For deposit to the account of the U.S. Treasury" or any similar method of depositing it into the U.S. Government. Instead, it is stamped "For deposit to the account of the Federal Reserve".

      That means the Federal Reserve bank collects 100% of the U.S. tax revenue directly from us. It is THEY who pay the U.S. Treasury, not the other way around! They are never in danger of us defaulting on our loans unless we ever reach the point where the annual interest due exceeds total annual revenue collections.

      If you understand that, you'll understand that there can be no economic collapse by our failing to raise the debt ceiling. Our debts (interest) will continue to be paid directly to the Federal Reserve as they always have been, directly by us — the U.S. taxpayers. It is the U.S. Government that must learn to live with less.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×