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Act on debt I

| Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, 8:53 p.m.

Act on debt

The federal government spent $1.1 trillion more than it took in last year and now owes over $16 trillion. But these numbers are so huge as to be meaningless, so I appreciate Ralph R. Reiland breaking it down to how much each individual and household owes in his column “Our increasing debt by the numbers” (Jan. 14 and TribLIVE.com). That makes it personal.

No one planned this crushing debt. It's the cumulative result of countless smaller decisions usually touted as compassionate. Bail out that corporation to save its employees' jobs. Attack that country because its rulers oppress its people. Subsidize that “green” industry because its products are good for us but nobody wants to buy them.

Send money to hurricane victims without knowing or caring how much they're getting from their state and local governments, charities or insurance. And never ask where the budget could be cut to offset this compassionate spending. That would be heartless!

Washington has operated this way for years, under both parties, and it's left us, our children and grandchildren with a huge and growing debt. The road to insolvency, like that to hell, has been paved with good intentions, but now we're seeing what this unaffordable compassion costs.

Will the U.S. change course before it's too late? Or is it already too late?

Thomas Gillooly

Forest Hills

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