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Zero, goose egg, nada, zip

Do you know how much you still owe on your house? My guess is you probably do. How about on your car? You probably know that, too. How much do you owe the country? Have any idea?

Well, there are a lot of zeros in that number.

Congress, who is in charge of spending and taxes (income), just took our debt over the $23 trillion mark. In other words, they have spent $23 trillion more than they took in.

Yes, they borrowed the money, and, yes, we pay interest on that “loan.”

It’s nearly impossible to explain how much a trillion dollars is, except to say that, a billion seconds ago, it was the year 1988.

But a trillion seconds ago, it was 30,000 B.C.

The interest alone will soon be $800 billion every year on what Congress has borrowed. That’s more money than we spend on our entire defense budget.

To put it into perspective, let’s look at our debt as if it were an individual’s.

Say this year you make $30,000, but you spend $40,000 and put $10,000 on your credit card. Now your credit card balance has reached $230,000!

That is where we are as a country.

Except you have to add eight zeroes to each of those numbers.

I said there were a lot of zeros, and I didn’t even include the 535 zeroes in Washington. That’s the number of senators and House representatives who keep doing that every year.

Would they do it with their own finances? Of course not. Then why are they doing it with ours?

They are addicted to spending our money and borrowing our children’s and grandchildren’s money, with no plan to ever pay it off. Who said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results?

Now, many of those elected representatives are running for election, and they will ask us for our vote this year.

I will vote for them again if — and only if — they can tell me what their plan is to: 1.) balance our federal budget, and, 2.) pay off our debt.

Since I fully expect they will give us the “deer in the headlights” look, I can tell you now they won’t be getting my vote.

This year alone, we (the U.S.) are borrowing $2 million a minute to run our government. I repeat, $2 million dollars a MINUTE!

You would think that would be the topic of our time and that Washington would be talking about it daily, making drastic plans to stop the calamity.

But nope. What we hear from most of the Democrats running for president are things like Medicare for All and free college for all. And who is going to pay for all that? The rich people, of course, according to some of those candidates. Can they not do the math? Are they unable to balance a checkbook? Do they have no concern about our children and grandchildren?

Or, as I suggest, are they a bunch of zeros, defined as “the absence of all magnitude or quantity.” Let me toss in a total lack of common sense as well.

And let’s not forget the Republicans. I remember the days when I was one, mostly because I bought into their scheme of balanced budgets and a smaller, more responsive government. Those days are long gone.

I looked at the Republican Platform of 2016, when President Donald Trump was elected. The Republicans said the debt “is a burden on our economy and families. The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the current (Barack Obama) Administration has placed a significant burden on future generations. We must impose firm caps on future debt, accelerate the repayment of the trillions we now owe in order to reaffirm our principles of responsible and limited government, and remove the burdens we are placing on future generations.”

How has that worked out? It hasn’t. A bunch of zeroes blowing hot air to make us give them our vote.

They also said in 2016 that the “Republican path to fiscal sanity and economic expansion begins with a constitutional requirement for a federal balanced budget.”

How soon they forget their empty promises.

As these next 10 months unfold, as the campaigns gain steam, and as promises fall from the sky, let’s “zero” in on the fiscal insubordination and call them out.

Let’s (you and I and the media) ask them how they can do that to not only our generation but future generations, too. Ask them how many zeros are in a trillion. Ask them what their plan is.

If recent history is any indication, their answer will be zero, goose egg, nada, nil, nothing, zilch, zip.

Greg Awtry is the former publisher of the Scottsbluff (Neb.) Star-Herald and Nebraska’s York News-Times. He is now retired and living in Hubbard Lake. Greg can be contacted at gregawtry@awtry.com.