Wearing a cap and gown I sat on the field at the University of Maine contemplating my years in college.
I earned an education in the classroom, in the offices of Student Government where I served as President, and in the literally thousands of casual – and strong – friendships I made on that beautiful Maine campus.
Also on my mind was the student debt I accumulated.
I received a small academic scholarship and some financial aid but I had also racked up a sizeable debt. I knew it needed to be paid.
Over the years I worked diligently to pay that debt. I paid it, all of it.
I believe when a person, large or small business, – or a government – incurs debt it should be paid back.
Who would disagree with this fundamental principle?
Imagine my amazement last week when I read an official statement from the Maine Democratic Party attacking leaders for seeking a federal Balanced Budget Amendment.
That’s right, the Maine Democratic Party went officially on record saying its Leaders are opposed to having the federal government balance the books like families, small businesses, and most state governments must do year-after-year.
I have spent more than twenty-five years working to assist leaders who believe government must pay its bills. If we want a road, a school, a military jet, a national monument; we should pay for it. Most would agree this makes sense and that less debt helps the economy.
But the Democrat’s official press release headline declared: “Balanced Budget Trap Puts our Nation’s Economic Security at Risk.” They went on to describe how balancing a budget would harm the economy. I am still having a hard time deciding if we should cringe or chuckle at this statement.
The Democratic Party called the Balanced Budget Amendment a “reckless proposal.” Never mind that the majority of States are required to balance their budgets, states like Maine for instance. Just think about how unbelievably “reckless” Maine’s founders must have been.
Then there are the other 27 other U.S. States which have already gone on record calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment. They must be “reckless” as well.
Maybe they were just blinded by partisan rage in the fact that Governor Paul LePage, Congressman Bruce Poliquin, and Senator Susan Collins all support this common sense idea.
Congressman Poliquin is a co-sponsor and lead advocate for the Amendment in the House and Governor LePage held a press conference on this just last week.
Our national debt is a defining issue in our time.
The non-partisan Congressional budget office last September noted, “federal debt held by the public will reach about $12.8 trillion by the end of this fiscal year, an amount that equals 74 percent of the nation’s total output (gross domestic product, or GDP) this year.”
The CBO also reported our nation’s government just spent $231 billion in 2014 on interest alone.
Set aside the fact that reducing taxes can help spur the economic output of the “governed” and imagine what that $231 billion could have bought if it was spent on something other than interest.
If you worry about decaying infrastructure think about that number for a second.
This official proclamation from my good friends on the other side of the aisle made me realize when we see one of those D logos it no longer stands for Democrat …it now officially stands for Debt.
It is clear red ink runs in the blood of their party.
It is time to stop the bleeding.
Editor’s Note: This column originally appeared in the Bangor Daily News and has been reprinted with permission.