HARRISBURG – On his way out the door as Pennsylvania’s fiscal watchdog, Auditor General Jack Wagner offered some pointed analysis on America’s $16 trillion national debt.
During a Tuesday press conference where Wagner railed on high levels of debt at the Pennsylvania Turnpike – which has about $8 billion owed to creditors – he was asked by reporters for his view on the nation’s debt.
And Wagner didn’t hold back. A few excerpts:
“The national debt is horrendous, it’s embarrassing.
“The debt of our country is $16 trillion-plus and increasing at a dramatic pace each and every year, in excess of $1 trillion each and every year with virtually nothing being done to address it. It is unsustainable. We are indebting our children and our grandchildren in the process.
“Forty cents of every dollar the federal government spends is borrowed….that’s unacceptable. There has to be cuts at the federal level, in all areas, and every American citizen knows that. No household could survive that way.
“Yes, there has to be cuts at the federal level in all areas of federal government. In addition, there has to be revenue increases.”
Wagner went on to say the federal government should have an independent auditor general to weigh in on financial issues. But since he wouldn’t answer when asked about his plans for higher office someday, maybe that was just wishful thinking on his part.
Still, as Wagner wraps up his second term as auditor general and leaves his role as the highest-ranking Democrat in statewide office (a distinction he has shared with Treasurer Rob McCord for the last two years), this type of practical, no-nonsense take on the debt situation is sorely missing at the federal level – on both sides of the aisle.
He will be replaced next Tuesday by Eugene DePasquale, a former Democratic state representative from York County.
Watch the rest of Wagner’s remarks on the debt here:
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