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  • Slay the Beast: How You Can Save Us From the Massive Debt

    RALEIGH, NC — There’s a lot of talk in Washington these days about debt — and for good reason. The federal government reached the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling one month ago today. And the Obama administration has set a date of Aug. 2 for Congress to raise that limit.

    Why does this matter? There are economic implications for all Americans, but the generation under the age of 40 faces some of the biggest challenges from the country’s massive debt.

    That’s why Heritage has launched an education tour called Slay the Beast: How You Can Save Us From the Massive Debt. Tonight we’re on the road in North Carolina for another presentation to the Debt-Paying Generation. (Thanks, by the way, for your suggestions for explaining the size of a trillion.)

    Because we can’t visit every city and small town, we’re making our presentation available for the first time. It includes several info-graphics that tell the story of the county’s spending habits, our recent history with the debt and why this problem poses such a big threat in the future.

    Over the past month, Vice President Biden has met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to reach a compromise on the debt limit debate. As the politicians in Washington discuss our future, we want to make sure you’re informed about the implications.

    For more about this problem and the solutions to solve it, check out Saving the American Dream: The Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending and Restore Prosperity.

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Slay the Beast: How You Can Save Us From the Massive Debt

    1. Jeff, Illinois says:

      Instead of the so-called entitlements reduction idea, why not simply reduce the Military budget which I've seen is many times larger than all the other countries military budgets combined. Also the "effective" tax rate for the wealthiest americans is much much lower than the 35% tax rate reported and also much lower than it's ever been in general. At one time it was as much as 90% and somehow the america thrived. Simply raising the tax rate on the wealthy to what it was under Clinton would have a dramatic effect, while also closing loopholes.

      The real villain in the debt crisis are the unpaid for wars from the Bush years, the Bush tax-cuts for the wealthy, and the tax loopholes taken by the transnational corporations. Of course the it doesn't help to give large subsidies to the Oil industry and others.

    2. Fred Rutledge, Arizo says:

      Thanks for your great blog & your informative brilliant article!

      We The People I need a Job

      words & music by:

      Fred R. Rutledge, Jr.

      I need a Job__ Don't need no Bureaucrat__ to tell me who I am__

      I need a Job__ Don't need a Racist Congress__ to Dictate what color I am__

      I need a Job__ Not a Hollow Promise__ That only last till after Elections__

      I need a Job__ like the way it was__ when we were Proud Americans!__

      I need a Job__ Not Government restrictions__ so my boss has to Fire me__

      I need a Job__ Not Ten thousand New Laws__ That'll keep me from being free__

      I need a Job__ Not Higher Taxes__ to make me turn off my Electricity__

      I need a Job__ Not a Communist Fascist__ to take My Country away from Me! __

      We the People__ are the one's Supposed to be in Control__

      Government works for us!__ We're not here to pay their bankroll__

      We the People__ Aren't Slave__ for the Statist Regime __

      We the People__ Have the Power! __ We're gonna take our Freedom Back!__

      We're gonna take It on back__ Yea we're gonna take It on back!__

      Yea, We'll Take Back__ our Country __ Again!__

      What do you think __ When they buy up the Banks __ They won't get all of your money too?

      What do you think __ When they take all the Land __ They won't seize your property too?

      What do you think __ Crooks Payin' Washington __ Don't pay for propaganda too?

      What will it take __ to Realize__ the State-Run Press ain't tellin' the truth?

      I need a Job __ Not a free hand-out __ like a Government Bum on the street __

      I need a Job __ to take care of my Family __ So my Kids get somethin' to eat __

      I need a Job __ to get back my Pride __ And Stand Straight up like a Man __

      I need a Job __ To get back my Freedom __ Not be a Slave to their Communist Plan! __

      We the People__ are the one's__ Supposed to be in Control__

      Government works for us!__ We're not here to pay their bankroll__

      We the People__ Aren't Slave__ for the Statist Regime __

      We the People__ Have the Power! __ We're gonna take our Freedom Back!__

      We're gonna take It on back__ Yea we're gonna take It on back!__

      Yea, We'll Take Back__ our Country __ Again!__

      Now I pledge Allegiance __ to the Good Old U.S. of A. __!

      I don't Pledge Allegiance __ to what some Hollywood-fool Actor Say! __

      I teach My Kids __ Truth, Honor, God & the American Way __

      Don't need no Atheist Teacher __ Tellin' my kids that They Can't Pray! __

      They're gonna Try __ to take our Retirement __ And Ration all our Health Care __

      Kill Granny for 'Social Justice' __ They'll Say we don't need to be Scared__

      Mayo, Stalin, & Hitler__ Did just about the same thing __

      America Better Fight Back Hard!__ Let our Liberty-Freedom-Bell Ring! __

      We the People__ are the one's__ Supposed to be in Control__

      Government works for us!__ We're not here to pay their bankroll__

      We the People__ Aren't Slave__ for the Statist Regime __

      We the People__ Have the Power! __ We're gonna take our Freedom Back!__

      We're gonna take It on back__ Yea we're gonna take It on back!__

      Yea, We'll Take Back__ our Country __ Again!__

      We the People__ are the one's__ Supposed to be in Control__

      Government works for us!__ We're not here to pay their bankroll__

      We the People__ Aren't Slave__ for the Statist Regime __

      We the People__ Have the Power! __ We're gonna take our Freedom Back!__

      We're gonna take It on back__ Yea we're gonna take It on back!__

      Yea, We'll Take Back__ our Country __ Again!__

      Yea, We'll Take Back__ Our Country __ Again! __

      Yea, We're gonna Take__ Back __ America___ Again!! __

    3. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Yesterday’s Headline on Drudge – “THE FALL OF GREECE”

      We need to start getting busy. They raised their debt ceiling and resisted cutting the size/scope/cost of their government. The socialist deputy Salagianis said “The political system is rotting…The country is not being governed the way it should be. A reshuffle will not resolve the country’s problems.” Today we hear of deep and painful cuts that are now required. Greece is small and has a potential of being helped out. Our comparative problem is far worse as reported this week. There will be no one to help us out. Greece has already wiped out the gains in the global stock market. What will happen if we go down? Greece’s problem was a spending problem and now they are coming to grips on something they should have years ago.

      That statement can be said about our government from the White House, to Congress and to every federal worker program office. The New Congress is not serous in controlling the debt. Within 46 days congress WILL vote to raise the debt ceiling by $2 Trillion in short term spending by providing a “matching cut” of $2 Trillion spread over 10 years. Meaning we are only getting a $200 billion REAL budget cut. Though there is not a reshuffling of the government, the GOP spenders are reshuffling the budget AND are continuing to use enormous amounts of deficit spending to meet the ever-growing federal government needs.

      Rather than play games with us, which will put us where Greece is, lets balance the budget NOW! As far as the budget goes, we need to go back to what worked. The GOP showed great restraint in getting the Clinton spending spree under control. They created a workable budget framework. By 1998, we not only had a balanced budget, but we were also paying down the deficit. By 2002, we were back into deficit spending that would only increase to the crippling levels we have today.

      You ask, what do we need to do about the debt crisis. We need to do what Greece did not. We need to act now. We need a balanced budget that starts paying off the debt.

      Raw budget numbers:

      1998 1999 2000 2001

      Budget Total [$1,652.70] [$1,702.00] [$1,789.20] [ $1,863.20]

      Tax Collected [$1,721.80] [$1,827.40] [$2,025.20] [ $1,991.10]

      Int. Paid 100% [ $241.10] [ $229.80] [ $222.90] [ $206.20]

      Debt Payback [ $69.10] [ $125.40] [ $236.00] [ $127.90]

      Defense [ $323.10] [ $333.20] [ $358.70] [ $366.30]

      Social Ins. [ $906.40] [ $928.40] [ $976.90] [ $1,053.60]

      General Gov [ $182.10] [ $210.60] [ $230.70] [ $237.10]

      Deficit [ $- ] [ $- ] [ $- ] [ $- ]

      GDP [$8,793.50] [$9,353.50] [$9,951.50] [$10,286.20]

      National Debt [$5,478.20] [$5,605.50] [$5,628.70] [ $5,769.90]

      Debt % of GDP 62% 60% 57% 56%

      Inflation adjustment factors

      1998 to 2011 = 1.35

      1999 to 2011 = 1.33

      2000 to 2011 = 1.30

      2001 to 2011 = 1.26

      Adjusted for Inflation (2011 dollars)

      1998 1999 2000 2001

      Budget Total [ $2,231.15] [ $2,263.66] [ $2,325.96] [ $2,347.63]

      Tax Collected [ $2,324.43] [ $2,430.44] [ $2,632.76] [ $2,508.79]

      Int. Paid 100% [ $325.49] [ $305.63] [ $289.77] [ $259.81]

      Debt Payback [ $93.29] [ $166.78] [ $306.80] [ $161.15]

      Defense [ $436.19] [ $443.16] [ $466.31] [ $461.54]

      Social Ins. [ $1,223.64] [ $1,234.77] [ $1,269.97] [ $1,327.54]

      General Gov [ $245.84] [ $280.10] [ $299.91] [ $298.75]

      Deficit [ $- ] [ $- ] [ $- ] [ $- ]

      GDP [$11,871.23] [$12,440.16] [$12,936.95] [$12,960.61]

      National Debt [ $7,395.57] [ $7,455.32] [ $7,317.31] [ $7,270.07]

      These numbers show very slow federal government growth – compared to today – about $29 billion a year. Comparably the GDP grew $270 billion annually. This shows that the government grew slower than the economy – something we should desire and force to be a reality.

      The above table leads to the following averages, which can be used for a basis of a balanced budget framework (in 2011 dollars.) Consider this the formula that works:

      Budget Total [ $2,292.10] [15.5% of GDP]

      Tax Collected [ $2,474.10] [16.7%]

      Int. Paid 100% [ $295.18] [ 2.0%]

      Debt Payback [ $182.01] [ 1.2%]

      Defense [ $451.80] [ 3.1%]

      Social Ins. [ $1,263.98] [ 8.5%]

      General Gov [ $281.15] [ 1.9%]

      Deficit [ $- ] [ 0.0%]

      FY11 GDP [$14,800.00] Current

      National Debt [$14,300.00] Current

      When developing a budget the following priorities need to be adhered to.

      JOB 1 is SECURING THE DOLLAR. This requires no more deficit spending as the top priority. All programs, workers and contracts need to be fully funded and constrained within a hard budget. We need to pay off the interest of the debt in full each year and start paying down the principal.

      JOB 2 is SECURING THE COUNTRY. Defense dollars should be prioritized for the military mission. (1) Soldiers, (2) Hardware then the rest. The current “unworkable” federal workforce should be largely reduced.


      The rest will need to be prioritized with the remaining funding.

      A balanced Budget based on what has proven to work.

      Budget Total [ $2,370.00] [15.5% of GDP]

      Tax Collected [ $2,560.00] [16.7%]

      Int. Paid 100% [ $450.00] [ 2.9%] What we owe right now

      Debt Payback [ $180.00] [ 1.2%] Match the average

      Defense [ $470.00] [ 3.1%] Matches the largest budget in table

      Social Ins [ $1,300.00] [ 8.5%] Match the average

      General Gov [ $150.00] [ 1.0%] Eliminate programs/agencies/dept’s

      Deficit [ $- ] [ 0.0%]

      FY12 GDP [$15,300.00] Assumes 3% growth from FY11.

      National Debt [$14,300.00] Frozen

      Comparisons to current RINO “conservative” proposals:

      RYAN HF

      Budget Total [ $3,529.00] [22.3%] [ $3,507.60] [22.2%]

      Tax Collected [ $2,627.50] [16.6%] [ $2,627.50] [16.6%] Gov. Proj.

      Int. Paid [ $256.00] [ 1.6%] [ $252.80] [ 1.6%]

      Debt Payback [ $0.00] [ 0.0%] [ $0.00] [ 0.0%]

      Defense [ $801.00] [ 5.1%] [ $758.40] [ 4.8%]

      Social Ins. [ $1,989.00] [12.6%] [ $1,927.60] [12.2%]

      General Gov [ $482.00] [ 3.1%] [ $568.80] [ 3.6%]

      Deficit [ $901.50] [ 5.7%] [ $880.10] [ 5.6%]

      Unpaid Int. [ $194.00] [ $197.20]

      GDP [$15,800.00] [$15,800.00] Government Projections

      National Debt [$16,022.00] [$16,000.00]

      Comparisons to Obama’s budget


      Budget Total [ $3,728.70] [23.6%]

      Tax Collected [ $2,627.50] [16.6%] Gov. Proj.

      Int. Paid 100% [ $241.60] [ 1.5%]

      Debt Payback [ $0.00] [ 0.0%]

      Defense [ $925.20] [ 5.9%]

      Social Ins. [ $2,103.10] [13.3%]

      General Gov [ $458.80] [ 2.9%]

      Deficit [ $1,101.20] [ 7.0%]

      GDP [$15,800.00] Government Projections

      National Debt [$16,222.00]

      One can see that there is virtually no difference between these three plans. Heritage does provide a $220 billion savings over Obama. But we need $880 billion to go if we are to assume the tax revenue will be $400 billion more than this dismal year. Otherwise, we will need to cut a total of $1.5 trillion from Obama’s budget. Both Ryan and the HF do not do that.

      To fix the budget crisis that is upon us now, we need to cut spending. To avoid the economic trauma that Greece is facing we need to cut spending today! Had we never grew the government to such egregious levels it is today; had we funded the government 100% over the last decade; had we fostered real growth in the private sector instead of the artificial government deficit spending growth, we would not be where we are today.

      The tour is good, but the problem will not be fixed by the rosy "hope" plan by both Heritage and Ryan. Are they better than nothing, perhaps. But we can do much better!

    4. Indy says:

      The debt clock here shows unfunded liabilities of $114 Trillion

      Interesting read on Greece http://www.businessinsider.com/greek-portfolio-ma

      The US media doesn't cover the riots and problems in Europe, most Americans have no idea what's coming if we don't cut spending.

    5. Sandy, Richfield, UT says:

      Hey Jeff,

      Blame Bush? REALLY??? that train left the station 3 yrs ago. Obama

      owns it now and he's from your state of Illinois. Obama has done more to destroy this nation and its economy than all the rest of the presidents COMBINED. He is a complete buffoon; incompetent, arrogant, and unqualified. Come November 2012 you can have him back.

    6. Bill P. says:

      Hey Jeff and Sandy: You are both right. Although Obama has escalated the spending 10 fold with all of his administration's spending. This problem was going to hit us soon anyway.

      The problem really lies with the Congress and an enabling president for decades. The culture in Washington is one of a congressman "bringing home the bacon"., and President's signing off on it. Most of the spoending they have done has been counter to what has been written into the Constitution. Congress should not spend and appropriate any monies that would not ordionarily be appropriated by the states. It is up to the states to define spending not the Federal government. 75% of the money we send to Washington should never leave the states. Aditionally, Washington has invented "social" needs in order to expand the poweer of the Federal government. This all needs to stop. Congress needs to realize that the power of a free country needs to be in the pocket books of individuals not in the hands of buearocracies that are distant to the spending. This is not a battle. This is a cultural war!!

    7. Steve, Ohio says:


      Even if you reduce the military budget to ZERO, the projections from CBO and other credible organizations related to entitlement spending show them eventually (10 years from now? 20 years?) taking 100% of the Fed. revenue. Avoiding a fix for entitlement spending is NOT an option. And in light of our current president stretching an already thin military with an unlawful engagement without Congressional approval, cutting military funding is an awful idea, especially when you consider that our young men and women desparately need new machinery to replace the anchient relics they have been given. As for your claims about effective tax rates, everybody pays less than their marginal tax bracket. If your income puts you into the 25% tax bracket, you will end up paying much less than that (likely well below 20%). Besides, the wealthy in this country bear roughly 70% of the entire tax burden, while roughly HALF of the people WHO EARN A PAYCHECK don't pay a DIME in income tax. If you're looking for a crime, there is the first place to start.

    8. Pingback: Just How Big Is $1 Trillion? | The Foundry

    9. YnotNOW says:

      Hey Jeff,

      Your ignorance is showing. The Defens budget is less than 20% of Federal spending, yet the deficit is 40% of Federal spending. So if you had ZERO defens of our Country, you would still have a massive debt.

      Entitlements and payments on the debt are 60% of the budget. If you are going to balance the budget, this is where you have to look. Anything else will not work. And just blaming Bush or hating he military will not help.

      As for taxing the "Rich" at higher rates, that will not increase revenues and will hurt the economy – which hurt everyone. It is very easy to say "tax the other guy to pay for my benefits" but it does not work.

      Grow up!

    10. Carol,AZ says:

      TO; Geoge C, VA, & Indy,

      Hi George, I always read you posts.

      Thank you always from here, for your well placed words and insightful comments.

      With regards to you and Indy, from your first paragraph on Greece:

      I just wanted to share a couple of notes.

      I was in Europe for one month about seven months ago. Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and France, all in dire fiscal straights. Rioting and demostrations, every where.

      The world bank (centered in Germany) bailed-out Greece shortly after my trip. Over 70% of the Greek population are employed by the government. The government cut, cut, and cut again, putting thousands of Greek citizens out of work.

      Unemployment across most of Europe is staggering.

      We rarely hear about these facts here in the states pointed you by Indy .(thank you for the re)

      I go on the BBC site for international news or Fox International to get data. I'm certain others probably do the same.

      The one feeling I got there, IS the feeling I have here now.

      The fear in peoples faces and the depair and hoplessness.

      Like you, I read and reread numeous solutions for the USA, impending crises .

      The bottom-line as sordid as it sounds:

      No one wants to rock the boat over indecison and like Greece, our Federal Gov't has morphored into a dsyfunctional { ism } You, H.F. and thousands of us here, have ask and ask for someone to "do better" for months.

      I believe they won't in this administration.

      It will take the 2012 election to change the maggots.

      Millions of American already lost a major part of their 410-K retirement funds from the last cover-up by our government. After the crash, millions more will end-up with a zero, at the end of their dream sheets.

      And I hope I'm wrong….

      Who ever is playing God right now with America's future has one foot in hell, already.

    11. Jeff, Illinois says:

      I standby what I said, but add that without an overhaul to our trade policy no ultimate recovery will be possible no matter who's the president.

      Obama is one of the most intelligent / thoughtful presidents we've have, but he has been given a near impossible task, especially given the corporate ownership of the entire GOP and likely 20% of the Democratic Party.

      As far as Bush goes, it's impossible to speak of the present without respect to the past, and the negative momentum inherited, due to de-regulation and the wars.

    12. Sir Knot says:

      MR Jeff,
      Your comment that you will stand by what you say in the face of truth is a sad thing. What you have told me is that your opinion is fixed and will not change. The proof in the pudding is that Steve laid out some fairly easy numbers to understand and would be easy to check. They are true numbers and really are so overpowering it is hard to believe anyone would reject the simple solution that is right in front of us. We must cut spending. When I adjust my house hold budget I look at the fattest parts first. That is easily social Entitlements. We can not sustain this path.

      Jeff I will stand behind you 100% if you would agree to a 15% cut across the board in all categories of spending. I will stand by you if we change the tax code for a flat tax without loop holes if it applies across the board to everyone. That would mean no brakes for Big Oil or for alternate fuel companies. I might even agree to one exemption and one exemption only. No Tax for the poor who make under $35K and everyone files separately.

    13. Sir Knot says:

      But Jeff

      we all know you won't buy it. Why? because you have been intellectually dishonest with us. You did not even consider Steve’s fact you just dismissed them.

      Jeff you also showed us that you are young. Many of us remember what it was like when the Highest bracket was %90 and it was lowered by Regan. what a boom it was for the US. MAN the unemployment rate dropped from ~13% under Carter to ~5%. Most everyone had a job and had $$$ to spend. Our corporate rate is 35% now and it is the highest in the world. No wonder so many Co's are moving to India and China.

      Jeff would you go swimming before you took some lessons….. Please go take some economics classes at a good school before you interject again.

    14. Richard Ahern says:

      President Obama is leading by Fiat- he has ignored the original text of the US Constitution-Impeachment in order. Does Congress or the Senate have the will to do what is moraley right?

      The first ten Amendments to the Constitution are the "Bill of Rights. " The firsr nine prevent government from infringing on specific freedoms-speech, assembly, the right to keep and bear arms, and others. The 10th essentially says, "If we forgot anything, you can't do that either"

      No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no court are bound to enforce it. Sixteenth American Jurisprudence Second Edition, Section 256. Liberty in a Large Republic-We the People http://www.judgenap.com Visit our Website: http://www.wastewatchersinc.org

      Government as a whole has ignored the Law of the Land, and should be made accountable by the people

    15. Pingback: Heritage’s Bill Beach on Boundless: Fix the Debt, or Taxes Will Double for Millennials

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