Arlington, Va.—Bankrupting America, a project of Public Notice, today released a 60-second web video, “Where Washington is Taking Us,” highlighting the results of Washington’s reckless economic and fiscal policies and the true impact on American families, students and small businesses. The video uses stop-motion-animation to present today’s hard economic realities with the underlying message that the American people cannot afford to let Washington continue to take us down a path towards high unemployment, massive debt and a reduced quality of life.
“Washington spent trillions of dollars to improve the economy, but it seems like it’s getting worse; unemployment is still over 8 percent, college tuition is up, gas prices have doubled, we’re borrowing nearly $40,000 every second, and the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in more than three years,” said Gretchen Hamel, executive director of Public Notice. “Promises of more jobs, lower costs and a better quality of life turned into fewer jobs, higher costs and more debt. Americans are tired of the finger-pointing and political games; they want serious solutions, honest leadership and fiscal responsibility. We know where Washington is taking us, and we know we can’t afford it.” Earlier this week, Public Notice released the results of a national survey of likely voters conducted by the Tarrance Group via telephone from August 19-23 showing that jobs and the economy, along with federal spending and debt, topped the list of voter concerns. “Where Washington is Taking Us” is part of Bankrupting America’s ongoing campaign to make debt reduction a major issue among voters and candidates heading into the November elections, which includes 56 debt-reduction themed billboards across 10 states through September 30 urging candidates, members of Congress and the president to address our spending crisis.
Over the past three and a half years, Americans have heard plans, proposals, and promises about how Washington is going to correct the problems in our economy and stimulate growth. Talk of creating jobs, improving quality of life for the middle class, and curbing the cost of entitlement programs has dominated in the news and in government. If we look at the current economic situation we can see that these plans haven’t achieved their intended goals.
In January 2009, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent, and over 12 million individuals were unemployed.1 Three and a half years later, that number has increased by 745,000.2 In this same period, there has been a rise in the amount of Americans receiving food stamps. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides benefits to certain eligible low-income households. Those benefits can then be exchanged for foods at certain authorized retailers.3 Since January 2009, 14.5 million more Americans are collecting food stamps in order to provide for themselves and for their families.4 Many Americans are also facing rising gas costs and a higher college expenses. The cost of tuition at a public, four-year institution has increased 25 percent in less than four years.5 The average gas price has doubled.6
As more Americans face difficult choices in the job market, the federal government’s spending is headed down an unsustainable path. The national debt is quickly approaching $16 trillion, representing nearly $50,700 for every man, woman, and child in the United States.7 As more money is borrowed to finance federal spending, the amount the United States spends on interest payments rises with it. In ten years, interest payments on the debt are projected to more than double. Those payments, along with total spending commitments including autopilot programs like Social Security and Medicare, will consume 80 cents out of every federal dollar taken in by 2022.8
Today, we are facing higher costs and a greater debt burden. Washington needs a plan for responsible spending that works, not one that increases economic uncertainty for working Americans.