Nonsense and the National Debt
send a check for $27,444.23 for each member of your family to the
Federal Treasury. For a family of four, that is a bit more than
$100,000. That is the share each citizen has in the National Debt.
Better pay up soon, as your government is borrowing right and left
and the debt and accumulated interest is going to make what you
owe a LOT more, and very soon. The
total outstanding debt as of some time on Christmas day 2005
is $8,177,576,964,744. Round that off to $8 trillion dollars.
Once upon a
time, a young lady in a history class I was teaching asked what
she could do for extra credit, and as quantification is involved
a lot in history (how many dead bodies did the Russians have to
count to get up to 20 million in WW II?) I gave her the assignment
of making only ONE million dots. A month later, she came back and
proudly handed me a thick book with 100 pages and 1,000 dots on
each page. I smiled sweetly and told her, that it was a nice effort,
and she now had a hundred thousand dots, and she would only have
to do this nine more times and she'd have a million. As you can
imagine, she declined! She learned a lesson, and now has some small
idea or what a million is.
Now, how much
is a trillion? You really have to work to imagine this. It is ONE
MILLION MILLIONS! When you have finished filling up your book of
dots, let me know and I will add 5% to your final exam score. Of
course, I'll be pretty old by then. Then, for an A in the class,
do that 6½ more times to get to the Nov. 2004 national debt
figure in dollars! If you can grasp a figure that high, explain
infinity to me, will you?
So, how did
we ever get so far in debt? The first huge spike in the National
Debt was thanks to Ronald Reagan who foisted the dubious proposition
on us that you could increase spending and reduce income (taxes)
at the same time. (Reaganomics, or rather "trickle-down"
economics) This is called "borrowing to maintain your lifestyle."
President Bush has made Reagan's efforts in this area look like
come immediately to mind. (1) Where is all the money going? (2)
Where is the money to pay for the borrowing coming from, and (3)
Why are all of these loonies running around peddling the idea that
you can keep cutting taxes and borrowing to support the budget not
being put away where they cannot hurt themselves?
of where the money goes is not that difficult to figure out. Military
spending is far and away the biggest sponge for our money. Another
is interest on all the money we have already borrowed. Little details
like the $1.6 trillion dollars we have given to Israel might be
considered. Peter R. Orszag, a senior fellow in economic policy
at the Brookings Institution, said a conservative estimate for the
cost of Bush's permanent tax cuts and Social Security accounts would
be about $4 trillion over 10 years.
Where is the
money coming from to pay for all of that spending of money we don't
have? Well, as I said at the outset, if every citizen would sit
down today and write out a check for their share, we'd be in great
shape (for a while, anyway). We'll cut more from education and social
services, to be certain, and we'll borrow the rest as usual...from
the rich who can afford to buy interest-bearing government bonds,
from foreign investors, and we'll raid the Social Security Trust
fund some more..
is not going to run out of money as long as we can borrow. This
is called "robbing Peter to pay Paul." (By the way, in
this senario, you're Peter.) Also, if the government finds its money
getting short, well we can run the printing presses overtime and
print twice as much money. Of course, this money will only be worth
half as much, which will mean that I will only get $5.00 worth of
food for ten bucks. It will also mean that a lot of people who have
money invested in this country, like the Saudis, Canadians, or Japanese
may want to cash out before their investments become completely
worthless. Of course we could raise taxes and pay this debt down
now instead of just passing it along to generations of young Americans
yet unborn. Our grandchildren will doubtless thank us for the debt
with which we have saddled them, and for the loss of jobs due to
offshoring their work, as well as for the cuts in welfare. After
all, they can always join the military... right.
The last question
concerning why we allow these fiscal loonies that keep selling us
a bill of goods to go free is complicated. Maybe its because we
like 'em. Aren't they against gay marriage, abortion, and the idea
that idea that guns should be controlled? And they cut taxes! We
can forgive them for destroying this country with borrowed money
and big military spending.
I hate to make
this a partisan issue, but the Republicans who gave us Reagan's
and Bush's fiscal irresponsibility are also the ones that chant
"deregulation!" as the answer to all of our problems.
Right. Remember when they cut the number of regulators on the Savings
and Loans a few years ago which enabled these institutions to bilk
the public out of 30 to 50 billions of dollars for which the U.S.
Taxpayer (or his grandchildren) is going to have to pay? That didn't
help the national debt situation.
don't start again with the "welfare queen" anecdote. All
of the welfare recipients and their children forming a chain to
the moon and back could not suck up the $1.7 billion dollars a day
that are being added to what we owe. They had nothing to do with
the tax cuts Bush gave the rich that were funded by foreign loans,
domestic loans, and a raid on Social Security funds. Let's quit
using poor people as a scapegoat. Many of the middle class voters
who supported Bush may well find themselves in the bread lines in
the next few years of job loss and inflation and will understand
better the situation.
It is time
to quit fooling ourselves about the Republican policies of enriching
the rich, blaming the poor, deregulating business (letting the fox
guard the chicken coop), and spending trillions of dollars we don't
have on military adventures. It is time to put the blame for the
National Debt on those who have caused it to increase dramatically,
and to demand that they start taking a sane approach to solving
the problem! Many of my Republican friends agree, and need to start
making their voices heard in the closed circles in Washington.
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