- - Thursday, October 14, 2021

“So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, ‘Oh, how fine are the Emperor’s new clothes! Don’t they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!’ Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.

” ‘But he hasn’t got anything on,’ a little child said.”

Listening to the media talk about the proposed spending levels from the liberals in Washington, D.C., makes me think of the people in Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Emperor Has No Clothes.” It is as if they are blind to the obvious fact that people like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are proposing spending trillions of dollars at a time when the federal debt is exceeding the entire U.S. economy. 

It’s time for more of us to be as candid as the child who declared that the emperor “hasn’t got anything on.” In 2020, the federal government spent more than $6.55 trillion while collecting revenues of $3.42 trillion. In May, Joe Biden proposed a federal budget with spending just over $6 trillion and revenues of $4.174 trillion.  

In other words, the federal government continues to spend money it does not have—creating an annual deficit. That is then added to the national debt.  

Before the global pandemic, many of us raised concerns about the national debt exceeding $23 trillion. As of Oct. 1, 2021, the national debt of the United States exceeds $28.8 trillion. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the debt will exceed the entire U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the end of the year. 

In 1970, the national debt was 28.7 percent of GDP. By 1994, it had grown to nearly half at 48.3 percent. It dropped to 30.9 percent in 2001.  During Barack Obama’s tenure, it grew from 43.8 percent in 2008 to 75.9 percent in 2016. And it exploded during the pandemic in 2020. 

Radicals like Mr. Sanders talk about the need for nearly $6 trillion in new big government spending. Their latest proposal adds up to $3.5 trillion. 

The entire federal government budget is $6 trillion, and they want to spend $3.5 trillion. That is more than the national economies of every country in the world except for China, Japan, Germany, and the United States. 

Somebody needs to declare that the emperor “hasn’t got anything on.”

The current national debt now equals more than $86,720 per person — more than $228,999 per taxpayer in America. Think student loan debt is bad? How will you pay for your share of the national debt, especially as it keeps growing?

This gets us back to the issue at hand: Federal lawmakers want to spend trillions more — even after adding trillions of dollars to the federal budget during the past year. We have to push back. 

Joe Biden keeps saying that taxes will only go up on people making more than $400,000 per year. He says you trust him to keep his promises. 

Try telling that to the Americans stuck in Afghanistan. Even the Associated Press fact check acknowledged that Joe Biden broke his promise that the U.S. would not leave Americans stranded in Afghanistan. 

It is like the suggestion that their trillions in new spending actually costs zero. Multiple independent sources have scored their plan as added significantly to the national debt. Besides that, even a child can understand that raising taxes to pay for massive new spending has a cost. 

The liberals plan combines higher taxes with more deficit spending that will be added to the federal debt. However, no matter how it is paid for, they would be spending $3.5 trillion more than the federal government was before the plan. 

Plus, there are other costs to the plan. For example, increased taxes on employers will undoubtedly lead to higher prices for products or fewer workers. White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said, “We feel that that’s unfair and absurd, and the American people would not stand for that.” Apparently, she missed out on her Economics 101 class. Numerous studies show that a significant portion of taxes on businesses is passed on to consumers. 

Bottom-line: The federal government has been spending money it does not have for decades. That exploded during the global pandemic. Now, the national debt is exceeding the size of our entire economy.  We should not be adding any new spending to the federal budget. Not $6 trillion, not $3.5 trillion, not even $1.5 trillion. 

It’s time someone spoke up and told Washington politicians that just like the Emperor had no clothes, the federal government has no more money. Just say no!

• Scott Walker is the president of Young America’s Foundation and served as the 45th Governor of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2019. 

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