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In the excitement over the crime bill and health care, we have avoided dealing with our most fundamental problem - the debt.

As Congress continues its uninhibited spending spree, let's take a few minutes to look at the numbers.History teaches us that nations typically do not react to financial problems until a catastrophe occurs. The magnitude of our financial problem is so great that we must have the self-discipline to deal with it - now.

Read page 25 of the 1995 Clinton Budget Plan, and you will find a chart forecasting that the next generation to be born will pay 82 percent of wages in taxes, leaving only 18 cents out of every dollar earned to support the family.

Clearly, this would be the end of the American Dream.

The world's last superpower should have substantial cash reserves to allow it to immediately react to emergencies. Instead, we are $4.6 trillion in debt.

We go into debt an additional $1 billion each working day, and we must also make interest payments of almost $1 billion every working day.

The American people have guaranteed over $15 trillion including the banks, savings and loans, small investors in Wall Stret, home mortgages, college tuition programs and pension funds.

The unfunded liability for federal pension plans alone is $1.4 trillion. If we wait until financial panic occurs to take action, these guarantees will bankrupt our country.

Time is our enemy. In Churchill's words, we need "action this day."

In the past, we paid our bills and behaved responsibly. We have accumulated more debt in the past 12 years than in the first 200 years of our country's existence.

How did we get into this mess?

In 1960, when John F. Kenndy was president, the federal government spent only $100 billion.

By the end of the Vietnam War in 1973, Washington spent $200 billion.

Today we are spending $1.5 trillion a year - and Congress is literally working night and day to dramatically increase this number.

Are the American people 15 times better off than in 1960?


Since 1980, the standard of living has dropped for 80 percent of our families.

A 1950 dollar bill is worth less than 18 cents today. Big government is not working.

The Clinton Economic Plan gave us the largest tax increase in history. It passed by only one vote. (The votes needed to pass this law were bought with several billion dollars of taxpayer money.)

This plan never balances the budget, and it forecasts a $385 billion increase in the debt in the year 2003 - just one year.

The one-year increase in our debt in the year 2020 is projected to be $1.5 trillion, an amount equal to our entire federal budget today.

This is comparable to having your doctor tell you he has found cancer cells in every part of your body.

To help you understand the magnitude of our problem, just one line in our budget, "overhead," exceeds the entire annual government expenditures of France.

Social Security taxes are projected to exceed 30 percent of each worker's salary in the year 2030, because we are now spending the Social Security surplus to artificially reduce the debt - a shell game being played at the expense of the American people.

If you are still not convinced that we must aggressively and intelligently deal with this problem now - just take a look at how our debt is financed.

Seventy percent of the entire debt is financed short-term - five years or less. This is like financing your home mortgage short-term. It won't work.

Every time interest rates go up 1 percent, we add $30 billion a year to our debt.

Never forget, interest payments buy nothing for the American people.

Who is going to pay for this mess? Go look in the mirror - you are.