‘We’ve become a debtor nation’
by David Lazenby
Jan 13, 2011 | 2198 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) speaks to a group of constituents at the Jasper Public Library Wednesday afternoon. Shelby spoke on several topics including the U.S. debt. (Photo by: James Phillips)
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) speaks to a group of constituents at the Jasper Public Library Wednesday afternoon. Shelby spoke on several topics including the U.S. debt. (Photo by: James Phillips)
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Several dozen concerned citizens clustered in the Jasper Public Library’s Elizabeth T. Wiggins Heritage Room Wednesday afternoon to hear from U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby.

During Shelby’s stop in Jasper, as part of a tour of each Alabama county the senator conducts each year, the senator spoke on illegal immigrants, the U.S. debt, the need for economic growth, trade agreements, the health care reform bill and other political matters.

However, he started off by mentioning Auburn’s 22-19 victory in the BCS Championship Game Monday.

“I was proud of them,” said the 76-year-old University of Alabama graduate. “I love Auburn except once a year.”

Shelby, who was recently re-elected to his sixth term in the Senate, used a chart to show how the U.S. debt has snowballed since 1980 when it was less than a trillion dollars. Today, the United States’ public debt is more than $14 trillion.

“We have become a debtor nation,” Shelby said. “From 2000 to 2010 we went from $5 trillion to $13-and-a-half trillion.”

Shelby said if something isn’t done to reverse this trend, the U.S. could face the kind of troubles that have plagued countries like Greece recently.

“We should go back — in my judgment — revert back to the 2008 budget right now. It would send a message to the financial markets ... that we’re going to put our house in order.”

One attendee countered that much of the debt accumulated in the last decade was the result of the Iraq War.

“I see a good bit of that deficit and debt you’re talking about being for things outside of this country,” Paul Kennedy told Shelby, who voted for the Iraq War in 2002.

Following Shelby’s presentation, Leonard Wilson said after hearing from the senator, he’d had a change of heart.

“Jesse Helms was always my favorite senator,” Wilson said. “Until today. As of today, you’re my favorite all-time senator.”