Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Uncle Sam Down and Out as Congress Prepares to Raise Debt Ceiling

/PRNewswire/ -- Today the Employment Policies Institute's (EPI) "Defeat the Debt" campaign will station eleven destitute Uncle Sams in New York City's Times Square to beg for $12 trillion from taxpayers. The appearance comes one day before Congress is scheduled to begin debate on raising the debt ceiling, as the nation's $12.3 trillion debt is coming dangerously close to the current $12.4 trillion limit.

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 on the corner of 45th and Broadway that also feature a bedraggled Uncle Sam.

The campaign 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. In addition, EPI's website DefeatTheDebt.com was developed in order to educate the public about the enormous federal debt.

Through its ads and website, the "Defeat the Debt" campaign strives to put into perspective the size of a multi-trillion dollar 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.

"This campaign is all about getting people to understand the frightening reality of the massive federal debt," said EPI Executive Director Richard Berman. "People do not realize what it will take for our country to get out from under a $12 trillion debt when the government is expected to be adding over $1 trillion in new budget deficits each year. Last year, all of the government's tax revenue was used to cover Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and a few other entitlement programs. Funding for everything else, from the Department of Defense to the National Park Service, went onto the nation's credit card. We're even borrowing to pay the $500 million in daily interest payments we owe on the debt. How insane is that?"

Berman continued, "America's current level of spending is unsustainable. The country has never before been in such a precarious financial position where we are so indebted to foreign governments. The government must defeat the debt now, or we will live to regret it."

The Employment Policies Institute is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues that affect the American economy.

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