Slow economic growth, soaring food and fuel costs, and inflationary pressures have combined to push many Americans toward financial hardship. Facing a lean economic outlook, most have begun to cut back on unnecessary expenses and living a more modest lifestyle. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of those in our nation’s capital.

Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the federal government’s budget deficit at an astonishing $268 billion during the first nine months of fiscal year 2008. This represents an 80 percent increase in future debt obligation for taxpayers when compared to the same period last year.

Initially, the White House Office of Management and Budget had projected the 2008 federal budget deficit at $410 billion. That figure has since been revised upward.

Just as the federal government increased its spending by more than $120 billion, revenues fell slightly. The CBO estimates that revenues decreased by 1 percent, or about $16 billion.

The inability of Congress and the White House to curb their addiction to tax money is appalling. Not only are our nation’s leaders saddling taxpayers and future generations of Americans with an insurmountable debt load, but we’re doing so by selling our future economic, political, and military freedom to foreign nations who will have to be paid back – with interest.

Ronald Reagan once said, “To compare Congress to drunken sailors is an insult to drunken sailors.” Yup, that sounds about right.

– James Quintero