Can we afford this?

Not having enough in your paycheck to cover monthly budget items has become a reality for most Americans. A trip to Publix today is almost as expensive as a car payment. Filling up your gas tank has become an anxiety-inducing event. Making it from month to month is becoming increasingly difficult.

In times of financial hardship have you ever taken a cash advance from your credit card? It seems like a solution to get you through the immediate crisis. But, when that bill arrives the following month that crisis has returned and worsened.

We the taxpayers are the issuers of our government’s credit card. When this credit card is used to take a cash advance, we all suffer the impact when the bill arrives.

Last year that credit card was used to take a $1.9 trillion dollar cash advance – money borrowed by the federal government to increase the already record-level national debt.

The federal government sent the money it borrowed to state and local governments.

Jacksonville received $186,032,681 from that cash advance and used $30 million to give “premium” pay raises to city employees.

Last year the federal American Rescue Plan funding did allow for a one-time payment to all employees of $2,500. The budget for that was about $20 million, but it did not change the base salary. However, last year they also appropriated around $10 million of the federal rescue plan dollars for anticipated contractual pay raises. This was originally budgeted at $20 million but then lowered.

What that means is, the city used a one-time payment for a recurring cost, which is almost always bad fiscal policy. Council auditors questioned the move.

The $10 million expense will remain in the budget every year forever, but the source of the funds will not. It will have to come from local taxpayers.

What happens in Washington, D.C., might seem irrelevant to your daily life. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that taxpayers can’t afford the bill for the credit card we have given the government.

Debbie Gonzalez

Researcher and Writer Debbie a native of New York became a resident of Jacksonville via the U.S. Navy. After separating from the navy she worked for both Grumman Aerospace and later Northrup-Grumman Aerospace. After almost 20 years in the aviation industry, she went back to college to change professions. Going back to school as an adult that had lived all over the United States and abroad she had experience in culture and circumstance, which created an incongruity with the material being taught. At that point she began questioning the validity of the material and made the observation that to pass her courses she had to agree, at least on paper, with the material. She graduated about the same time as the Wall Street crash of 2008 and jobs were now difficult to find. So, with time on her hand she began to look into other areas to see if the incongruity existed outside of the college curriculum as well. This is where her mission for the truth began. Since then she has worked to get facts out to the public.

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