EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of three stories stemming from an interview with U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. The second will be published Sunday.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson knows what is foremost on the minds of the bulk of his constituents.
“It’s numbers one, two and three,” Isakson said, pointedly referring to the U.S. economy during a visit with the Times-Enterprise on Thursday.
The nation has been plagued by unemployment above 8 percent for 40 successive months. In addition, the economy grew at an anemic 1.9 percent rate during the first quarter of this year.
Isakson believes a cumbersone tax system and an exploding national debt are major drags on the financial health of the U.S. According to politifact.com, the federal government borrows an average of $4 billion a day to stay afloat.
The senator said that the nation is headed “off the cliff” if it doesn’t get its financial house in order. The national debt is on par with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about $15-16 trillion.
“That’s the cliff,” he said. “Once you cross that line, it’s becomes harder and harder to ever come back because of the compounding of interest even though interests costs are low. We all know that they will eventually go up because the more you borrow the more, ultimately, you have to print money to pay it off.
“When you do that, you inflate the dollar. Then you have inflation that runs away.”
Isakson said U.S. officials need to move quickly to avoid the kind of banking meltdown and severe austerity measures that are occurring in Greece and other European countries. Greece’s government spending has reached 180 percent of its GDP.
For full details, see Saturday's edition of the Times-Enterprise.