My fourth graders were eating their lunch in the classroom, and because the cafeteria is so noisy and is the place you are supposed to eat, the classroom is preferred. They were munching away in their little groups when I joined a group of three children. There was a lull in the conversation so I asked my dining companions what they thought of the federal deficit. There was a long pause, so I volunteered a definition.
“The federal deficit is what the federal government in Washington, D.C. spends that they don’t have. Let’s say you have only one dollar but you spend two dollars. You can do that by borrowing the dollar you don’t have. That is what the President and the Congress are doing. Say they tax everyone a billion dollars. That means they have a billion dollars to spend. But they borrow another billion and spend two billion. That means that some day when you guys get older there is a chance you will have to pay for some of the stuff that us adults today are spending. What do you think of that?
Andrea looked over at me and said, “Think of what?”