As the first Regular Session of the Quadrennium evolves there are a myriad of complex issues
arising. I am reminded of three simple truisms regarding the Alabama legislature and the
governing of the State of Alabama.
First of all, if anything significant or controversial or any major initiative is to be addressed, then
it is dealt with in the first year of the four-year quadrennium. Thus, giving legislators three years
before their constituents vote on them again. The political pragmatism and expectation is that
voters will forget.
Secondly, there may seem to be an urge to deal with all the hundreds of bills that have been
thrown into the hopper and special interest groups or lobbyists are espousing that a particular
piece of legislation has to be dealt with or it will be the downfall of the state. Not so. The only
definitive legislation that has to be dealt with are the state budgets. That is the only
constitutional mandate required of legislators in a session.
The third truism surrounds the second. In regard to passage of the budget, our Constitution
wisely has a sacrosanct conservative mandate that there must be a balanced budget. The
Alabama Legislature cannot deficit spend or overspend the projected revenues for the year. Our
current super Republican majority legislature is so conservative, they not only adhere to the
Constitutional prohibition against deficit spending, they do not even spend 100% of the year’s
budget. For the past decade they have put state revenues away into a rainy day fund. They are
truly budgeting conservatively.
If that were only true of our United States Congress. Our U.S. Congressmen and Senators are
simply printing money in Washington. They are recklessly spending our nation into an abysmal
hole, one that we may never be able to get out of. This tremendous federal deficit is our nation’s
most acute problem. The United States cannot survive and keep spending money that we do not
have. Our national debt is so high that we are basically nothing more than a third world country.
Communist China will not take us over militarily or by flying balloons over our country. They
will take us over without firing one bullet. They will defeat us economically. Again, it is a
serious problem that must be addressed if we are to survive as a nation.
The national debt is so devastating that within the next year it will be higher than our Gross
National Product (GNP). In fiscal year 2022 alone, the deficit was $1.4 trillion. The total
national deficit is so high that it is difficult for the treasury or economic analysts to accurately
assess. It is between $400 trillion to $528 trillion. Folks, that is trillion with a “t” not billions.
To put it closer to home, the federal debt per person for every man, woman, and child and yes,
that includes you and your children and grandchildren, is $96,403 per person. That is what your
federal government legislators have done to you. It is simply unsustainable.
The United States cannot continue down this path of spending ourselves into oblivion. We
cannot keep spending like drunken sailors. Our great conservative President, Ronald Reagan,
made a legendary statement when facing a free spending Democratic Congress, “You know
people are saying that the Democratic Congress is spending money like drunken sailors. That’s
an insult to sailors, they don’t hold a candle to Congress.”
One of my wise readers wrote me this anecdote about the crisis. She said, “Democrats are
determined to bankrupt the country. Just paying interest on the debt is going to wreck the
economy and very soon. What they are doing would be analogous to my going out and buying a
luxurious ocean liner, a castle in Spain, and a Lamborghini and charging it all to my
grandchildren and great grandchildren.” She is not the only one of my readers that are concerned
with this crisis.
Our United States Federal deficit and debt is our nation’s number one problem. Hopefully, one
of the GOP Presidential aspirants will make this their major political platform. They may be
surprised at how many conservative Americans will follow them. We will see.
See you next week.
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60
Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at