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Posted: January 20, 2012 12:00 a.m.

The responsibilities of voting

Our democratic republic is founded on the basis that there is an informed active and participating citizenry. Somehow through the years our society has become apathetic and lazy in the responsibility to stay aware of issues in our government and intellectually curious enough to seek the facts and actions of our elected leaders. 

Our founding fathers, I’m sure, never anticipated that lack of interest could spell the downfall of our government.

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past year, it will come as no surprise that 2012 is a critical bellwether year in government that will determine the direction and character of our country.

Many of our citizens have lost an appreciation for the serious impact of casting their vote. Many people cast votes for issues and candidates for which they have no understanding of the issue or the convictions of a candidate. Consequently we are over taxed, over regulated and accepting leadership that ignores the will of the people.

The following summary is both shocking and indicative of the direction our country is headed at this moment. These are cold, hard facts, not opinions. 

Read and think about what your vote means this year. It will have certain and serious impacts. Only you and your vote can change the results.

If these facts don’t scare you, you should learn more about the issues and candidates or not vote.

— 1,000 days of the current president’s administration

 — Debt: Total Public Debt Outstanding has increased by $4.2 trillion [source: Treasury Dept.]

— More debt: America accumulated as much debt over the past 1,000 days as it had in the country’s first 79,135 days (July 4, 1776, through March 3, 1993) [source: Treasury Dept.]

— Debt per day: America’s debt has increased by about an average of $4.2 billion per day [source: Treasury Dept.]

— Interest on U.S. debt: $1.2 trillion has been spent servicing U.S. debt—that by itself would be the world’s 15th largest economy [source: Treasury Dept.]

— Jobs: 2.22 million jobs lost [source: BLS]

— Poverty: Nearly 3 million more Americans in poverty—poverty rate has gone from 13.2 percent to 15.1 percent [source: Census]

— Food stamps: 12 million more Americans living off of food stamps [source: Dept. of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program]

— Government spending: Spent more than $9.6 trillion — 60% more than the federal government has taken in [source: OMB and CBO]

— China: Owns $1.17 trillion of our debt (as of July) — a 58 percent increase from January 2009 [source: Treasury Dept]

— Unemployment rat: Has averaged 9.4 percent under Obama [source: BLS]

— More unemployment rate: Has been at or above 9 percent for 840 of the 1000 days [source: BLS]

— Underemployed: Nearly 5 million more Americans are underemployed [source: BLS]

— Avg. weeks unemployed: Unemployed out of work for an average of 40.5 weeks — that’s more than double since Jan 2009 [source: BLS]

— Manufacturing: 818,000 manufacturing jobs lost — a -6.5 percent drop since jan. 2009 [source: BLS]

— Bank failures: 371 banks have failed [source: FDIC]

— Repossessions: more than 2.4 million homes have been repossessed for failure to pay their mortgage [source: Realtytrac]

— Bankruptcies: some 4 million total (business and non-business) bankruptcies [source: American Bankruptcy Institute]

— Gas prices: up more than 80 percent and has been over $3/gallon every day in 2011 [source: AAA/OPIS]

— Unemployment benefits: almost $380 billion spent by federal government on unemployment benefits [source: Treasury Dept. and CBO]

— Economic team: 7 key members of obama’s economic team have resigned Summers, Romer, Bernstein, Orszag, Goolsbee Volker and Rouse] [source: news reports/tracking]

— Health insurance premiums: health insurance premiums (family coverage) up 9 percent this year and 12.7 percent from 2009 [source: Kaiser Family Foundation]

— Median income: real median household income in the u.s. in 2010 was $49,445, a -2.3 percent decline from 2009 [source: Census Dept.]

— Environmental Protection Agency: spent more than $26 billion on the EPA

Diligently drill down to the truth on issues. Read the source documents on issues before you form an opinion. Never accept sound bytes and media commentary as facts. Be intellectually curious and interested and our children will get the same country that was given to us.

 

 

William Perugino is active in local and regional politics and can be reached at william.perugino@jacobs.com.

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