Clock ticking, money wasting

Well, it’s Tuesday afternoon at 3:48 and according to the U.S. National Debt Clock the country is in hock to the tune of $16,968,054,960.

For those of you who are comma-challenged, that’s about 16 trillion, 900 billion dollars.

The website that hosts the debt clock ( notes:

* Since there are about 317 million folks in the U.S., each one of us owes about $53,500. Of those of us unfortunate enough to be taxpayers, our share is $148,225 each. That was Tuesday. By the time you read this, you’ll owe more.

* Since Sept. 30, 2012, the national debt has increased an average of $1.83 billion per day.

The secretary of the Treasury, Jack Lew, has announced that on Oct. 17, 2013, the country will hit its debt ceiling – the cap Congress puts on how much the federal government can borrow.

The Treasury Department’s website notes that Congress has raised that debt ceiling 78 times since 1960.

Lew says the country will default on its obligations if the limit is not increased.

Now, we think the debt ceiling has to be raised. But at what point are Congress and the president going to have serious talks about putting the brakes on government spending?

If the debt ceiling has been raised 78 times in 53 years, then it has become a habit – a bad one. Imagine going to your bank and asking for a higher limit on your credit card more than once a year. They wouldn’t laugh in your face – they’d take your credit card away.

Silly things like defunding Obamacare have no place in funding the government or raising the debt ceiling. But talks about establishing budget discipline certainly do.

The government should be funded, the debt ceiling should be raised. But those actions should be dependent on a pledge to address the debt and deficits.

The media and the public should hold Congress’ and the administration’s feet to the fire until a competent budgetary process is put in place in Washington, D.C.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.