- - Tuesday, September 3, 2013

In 2012, my family’s income was slightly more than twice the national poverty level. This year, our income has been even less. While we are above the poverty level, we are by no means affluent. We drive 16- and 17-year-old (paid off) vehicles. We live in a nice, paid-off house and eat good meals. We have experienced times when we barely were able to meet expenses, but we were able to make it because we became debt-free about 10 years ago.

We know of individuals who have incomes approaching or exceeding six figures, live in more expensive homes and take exotic vacations — but they are deeply in debt. A majority of their income must be spent on servicing the interest on their debt. This group is reflective of the state of our nation. We are deeply in debt to other nations (particularly China), yet we are told we need to increase the debt limit because our national leaders continue to spend beyond our means.

Just because our national government has spent funds we did not have should not obligate the nation to increase the amount available to increase that debt. Just as the individuals described above would be told by the banks and other lenders to stop spending and pay off existing debt, so should Congress not increase the debt limit. Instead it and the administration should take drastic steps to cut spending and figure out a way within our current national income to pay back the enormous debt that has been accumulating through both Republican and Democrat administrations. We need to stop robbing Peter to pay Paul.

JACK TIRRELL

Tucson, Ariz.