Washington, D.C. — The Employment Policies Institute (EPI) released the following statement in response to Thursday’s Senate vote to raise the debt ceiling for the second time in as many months.
From J. Justin Wilson, EPI Senior Research Analyst and Manager of EPI’s Defeat The Debt campaign:
“Washington’s disconnect between rhetoric and reality was on full display today, as the Senate passed the largest-ever increase in federal borrowing only hours after a State of the Union address in which President Obama promised a new focus on fiscal responsibility. The American people know that borrowing another $1.9 trillion is not progress — it’s digging the nation deeper into debt at a time when we can least afford it.
That is why EPI has launched a campaign to put into perspective the frightening reality of the massive federal debt. People do not realize just how much $12.3 trillion is, and what it will take for our country to get out from under that level of debt. For example, using the passage of time as a reference, a million seconds will elapse in 12 days, while a trillion seconds is equivalent to more than 30,000 years.
Last year, the government’s tax revenue was enough to cover Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and a few other entitlement programs. Everything else, from the Department of Defense to the National Park Service, went onto the nation’s credit card.
We simply cannot afford to continue down this reckless path. Defeating the debt will take real action, not budgetary gimmicks like the new pay-as-you-go rule that includes $1.6 trillion in exceptions, or a toothless presidential ‘Debt Commission’ without any actual authority over Congress.”
The Defeat the Debt campaign aims to highlight the threat posed by unsustainable borrowing and spending by the federal government. Additionally, EPI has placed two adjoining billboards in New York’s Times Square, featuring a bedraggled Uncle Sam begging for $12 trillion from taxpayers.
The campaign also includes a national television commercial, which has aired on CNN, Fox News, and CNBC. Throughout September and November, EPI also placed 17 homeless Uncle Sams on the streets of Washington, New York City, and Chicago to beg for $12 trillion from taxpayers.
For more information or to arrange an interview please call Sarah Longwell at 202-463-7650.
The Employment Policies Institute is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues that affect the American economy.