“A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money. “ That’s a quote attributed to long-ago U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen (which he probably never said). The quote—real or not—was about the federal budget in the 1960s. Back then a budget deficit of $5 billion would send people into a tizzy.

Now? The recent agreeement between the White House and Congressional leaders will lead to annual deficits of about $1 trillion. The current national debt stands at $22 trillion and grows day by day. The new budget agreement, which will remain in place until after the 2020 elections, will add about $10 trillion to our national debt when all is said and done.

The president, his GOP supporters and the Democrats all get money for pet projects, all forgetting any past declarations about deficits. When both parties agree to such an egregious budget plan, they all get political cover. The Democrats can say they secured money for cherished domestic programs. The Republicans get to say they have money to increase military spending. They will all congratulate themselves on this deal while America’s Everyman and Everywoman will, again, bear the brunt. This is a perfect example of our leaders not leading. On top of that, economic experts say that the recent $1.5 trillion tax cut did not have the desired affect. Much of that money ended up as executive bonuses and stock buy-back schemes.

Why should this latest budget agreement (which still has to be approved by Congress and signed by the president) matter to the average citizen? There are two very good reasons.

One, it breaks any semblance of trust between citizens and government when their leaders preach one thing and then do the opposite. It’s politics as usual.

Two, the bigger our national debt, the bigger the mandated interest payment. That interest payment, itself billions of dollars, takes money away from other areas that needs financing. 

Those are good reasons for Americans to be wary of these types of budget deals. On top of that our debt is owned by China and others. What will our leaders say they came knocking on our door looking for payment?

The $385 billion budget plan gives both parties gifts they can bestow onto their supporters as well as political cover from each other. That’s no way to run a country. We are outraged and hope many others are, too, and take the time to let their leaders know how they feel.

—LAZ