Mar 02 2009
To listen to the audio of Senator Burr's radio address, please click here.
"Hello, this is U.S. Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina.
"This week, President Obama shared with all Americans his priorities and concerns about the serious economic challenges we are facing. I appreciated his optimism and agree with him that our country has the ability to overcome this significant economic challenge. The strongest tool we as Americans have is our ability to rally together and find solutions with unity of purpose. There is no limit to our ability and potential when we as a nation and as a people work together. Many times, disagreements between the two political parties in Washington get all the headlines. What's not reported is the fact that Republicans and Democrats agree on where we want to go, but we disagree on how we're going to get there.
"These uncertain times present us with a defining moment. The actions and decisions we make and the actions we take in our nation's capital and in state capitals across the country will have a profound impact on our way of life for years to come. Families facing tough decisions at home know this because they are confronting the same challenges. Washington needs to understand this reality as well. It's difficult to fully appreciate, but every time Congress and the President spends a dollar, it's actually a dollar plus interest that our children and our grandchildren will have to pay back. We must remind ourselves of this fact every day. Unfortunately, Washington is in a state of denial. Our spending habits haven't gotten better, they've only gotten worse.
"It seems that every morning you pick up the newspaper, you're reading about another multi-billion dollar government spending plan being proposed or even worse, passed. The numbers are so large, and the deficits so staggering, it's difficult for the average person to imagine how much money we're talking about. We become numb to what the dollar figures really mean, or the obligation that accompanies them. Let me take a moment to try to explain what is happening in Washington right now, and what it will mean for all of us down the road.
"This week, the president submitted to Congress the single largest increase in federal spending in the history of the United States, while driving the deficit to levels that were once thought impossible. If we just look at what our debt spending will cost us in interest payments alone, we are talking about $4 trillion over the next 10 years, more than a billion dollars of interest payments every day. Think of that $4 trillion as a finance charge on your credit card bill – you have to pay it, but you get nothing for it in return. This finance charge obligates more than $52,000 for every family in America over the same 10-year period. These payments don't even make a dent in the balance we owe. In fact, the balance on our credit card continues to grow as we continue to spend. Like a family that finds itself choking under the weight of credit card balances and finance charges, the federal government is quickly obligating the American people to a similar fate.
"This is why we must keep our eye on the big picture. For two centuries, the American Dream has depended on the simple belief that men and women work hard so their children would have a better future. Looking at the spending priorities of Democrats in Washington in the proposed budget and over the past month, it's hard to escape the reality that for the first time we could see the American Dream vanish. Now, instead of working hard so our children can have a better life tomorrow, we are asking our children to work hard so we don't have to make tough choices today.
"It's long past time to show restraint and to make the tough choices that will help put our fiscal house in order. Generations of Americans past have often been called on to make great sacrifices for their country. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice. Is it not time for government to make sacrifices for future generations? It's time for those elected to lead. Will we rise to the challenge, and make the tough choices necessary or will we simply hand the obligation to our children and wish them luck?
"Thanks for listening."