Essay by:
Rachel Zimmerman
Emporia state University

Did they make a mistake when writing the Constitution? According to the Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 8: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To borrow money on the credit of the United States…” The Constitution states it, for the general welfare of the United States. If they knew what would unfold, would they have allowed the borrowing we see today? Is Congress doing its job? Is it taking care of the general welfare of U.S. citizens? Is it providing for our defense right now?

As a college student, I am worried about our nation’s future. I think about where the economy will be in fifteen years and what my generation and my children’s generation, and possibly my grandchildren’s generation, will have to fix because of the decisions our government is making today. Our country is currently $12 trillion dollars in debt. That is outrageous! I don’t even know how much that is exactly, but I know it’s a lot.

I am an elementary education major, and I’m really worried about my future as a teacher. Will I have a job? If I do, will I have the funding I need to adequately teach students? Will I need at least one other job to support my job as a teacher so that my students can have the supplies they need for projects and experiments? As a future educator, these are just a few of the problems I face. Schools around my hometown are closing down due to a lack of funding. They don’t have the money for books, art education, music education, or even the money for students’ meals.

Education should be top priority for all levels of government because it’s the future of our country who is sitting in the classrooms. Without a strong education, students won’t be prepared to go to college or enter the work force; they need these skills to succeed. I’ve talked to a few people, mostly family members, and they all said they would be willing to pay higher taxes if it went to education.

It is really important that our government act now to try and pay off some of our nation’s debt, because when the baby boomers hit retirement age, it’s going to get ugly. It will be my generation’s responsibility to make sure all of the baby boomers are taken care of, which means taxes will be taken out of my paycheck to take care of them using programs like Social Security and Medicare. That’s fine, I have no problem with that because the baby boomers include my parents and aunts and uncles, but what about when I’m ready to retire? Will I be able to retire around the age of 65? Probably not because these programs are funded by current workers. I am not trying to be pessimistic but I don’t really see that happening with what my generation will have to pay in taxes to correct the mistakes happening now. Even if I try to put enough of my own money away, it still does not seem possible. With all levels of government cutting education funding, I do not see a bright future, unless the government changes.

I’m not only worried about how this budget deficit will affect me in the future because it’s affecting me now. I work at a daycare center. There are three centers, two of them are combining because they don’t have the money to feed their kids or pay their staff. Enrollment is down because they had to raise their prices because minimum wage increased and a lot of parents pulled their children out of daycare. When these two centers combine, I don’t know if I’ll have a job.

These are desperate times, and desperate times call for drastic measures. The President, Vice President, and Congress need to sit down and figure things out. They need to get their priorities straight. Does all the money really need to go to the war right now, or are there places where they can take some away? They also need to plan a balanced budget and STICK to it, just like I have to stick to a budget. If millions of Americans can do it, including me, so can the government. If they don’t need to borrow, if they can get by on what they have, then do it.

While reading the Heritage Foundation’s: Federal Spending by the Numbers, I got heated. It is absolutely ridiculous what our government spends on unnecessary things! Does the President not see where money is being spent? Members of Congress have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on items for their offices, such as popcorn machines, plasma televisions, DVD equipment, among other items they do not need. If they have these things in their office then they are not doing their job! I do not want my hard earned money to go to supply their extravagant spending. Money being thrown out the window because the Defense Department never bothered to get a refund on unused flight tickets totaling $100 million. Congress appropriated $20 billion to be spent on “commemoration of success” celebrations related to Iraq and Afghanistan. ”Over half of all farm subsidies go to corporate farms with an average household income of $200,000.”

After reading all of this information, I am tempted to march to Washington and get in Congress’ face and ask them if they like sitting around doing nothing watching DVD’s on their plasma televisions when our country is in a crisis. It upsets me to think the money that I’ve earned is providing things to people who are very well off. All of this wasted money should be put to use, put towards programs we all rely on and need.

Re: Uh Oh, Uncle Sam

Your first paragraph about the Constitution really makes you think about everything! I never thought about all that in that way! Great paper!

Re: Uh Oh, Uncle Sam

Well-written essay with a catchy title. I wish the Founding Fathers had left out that part about borrowing money on the credit of the United States.

Re: Uh Oh, Uncle Sam

The first part of your essay was very good. It is scary to think 10/15 years down the road. Where will our economy be? Where will we be? Scary to think about!

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