PARKERSBURG - It is hard for many people to comprehend the national debt and how it impacts people on a regular basis, a U.S. congressman told a group in Parkersburg Monday.
U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., hosted around 25 people at a town hall brown bag luncheon at the Judge Black Annex on Market Street as part of a series of meetings across the 1st Congressional District to get feedback about the issues affecting residents.
McKinley talked with residents about the economy, jobs, energy, health care, taxes, government spending, tax reform and Social Security.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., hosted around 25 people at a town hall brown bag luncheon at the Judge Black Annex on Market Street Monday.
The U.S. government brings in around $2.4 trillion annually in revenue, but is spending $3.7 trillion with a shortfall of $1.3 trillion every year, he said.
"We have added $5 trillion in debt over the last five years," McKinley said. "I think (President) Obama inherited a weak economy, but his policies have made it worse. The economy is still very weak."
People have brought up plans to tax some people more, but McKinley said if all personal income tax collected on all the taxpayers in America and all the corporate taxes were doubled it still wouldn't be enough to get the country out of debt.
If people focused on one group of people who make above $250,000 a year, it is not going to make a dent in the debt, McKinley said.
"We don't have a taxing problem; we have a spending problem," McKinley said. "We have got to find a way to lower that, but still keep the economy alive."
McKinley said a stack of $1,000 bills 64 miles high would equal $1 trillion. It is still hard for many people to conceptualize how big the debt is, he said.
"If they did, I think people would be more outraged over the debt," he said. "What we are trying to do is continue to educate people about the amount we are borrowing.
"We are borrowing 43 cents out of every dollar we spend in Washington, D.C. Sooner or later, that is going to have to be paid back. It will be paid by our children and grandchildren through higher taxes or something else to pay that back."
McKinley said coal-producing states, like West Virginia, should not be penalized for providing a cheap source of energy that employs a significant number of people. McKinley said people in Washington, D.C. are tossing around figures on how to reduce coal usage in favor of less proven technologies and energy sources that still need time to develop fully.
"We don't mine coal in all 55 counties in West Virginia, but we use the electricity generated by that coal," McKinley said. "We have an economy based on fossil fuels. If you take that away, all of our costs are going to increase.
"Are we ready to have increased costs passed on to the consumer when we don't really have to? Lets keep the focus on the jobs we have and not jeopardize more by raising our utility bills."
People have pointed out that utilities cost more in Europe, he said.
"Look how that is working out for them," McKinley said. "I don't want to see that happen in America."