Debt: A greater threat than terrorism

No nation on earth has a battle tank capable of matching the U.S. M1 Abrams. It is simply unbeatable on combat. And the Army has so many of them it has parked 2,000 M1 tanks at a desert lot in California.

Yet Congress – over Army objections – this year appropriated $120 million to upgrade M1 tanks. That will benefit some defense contractors and the lawmakers who support them and expect help in return, but the net effect on Americans will be to pad the nation’s already gigantic national debt.

How big is it? More than $18.8 trillion and growing at the rate of about $2.3 billion a day.

Reasonable people might conclude that is a call for action by Congress and the White House. But no, neither lawmakers nor the two most recent presidents, George W. Bush and now Barack Obama, have shown any interest in curbing growth in government.

In fact, even when there is general agreement certain spending is unnecessary, powerful members of Congress continue to use earmarks and other techniques to include it in the budget.

Every man, woman and child in the United States already owes more than $58,000 as his or her share of the national debt. By the end of this year the amount will top $60,000.

In many ways, the debt is a greater threat than terrorism to Americans. It is long past time to view it with a similar sense of urgency.