Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another day, another grim report on the future of America

Yet another sobering message on the debt, this time in USA Today (aka News for people who don’t like to read). Here are a pivotal couple of passages:

Although a solution to the nation's $12.8 trillion debt remains elusive, most of the nation's power brokers agree on the problem: America owes too much money.

By 2020, the taxes it is projected to collect barely would cover the benefits it has promised and the interest it must pay. Without changes, almost nothing will be left for defense, education, veterans or anything else.


That is just staggering. I like the way it is described because when you deal with numbers like “trillions”, it loses any meaning to people. I have only seen $1 million once, in a sealed bag in a vault. I used to deal regularly with amounts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash but even a couple hundred thousand in cash is a tiny fraction of one trillion dollars. When you look at it as described above, it makes more sense. In ten years, TEN YEARS, we will have only enough tax revenue to cover the debt and the entitlement programs we have already promised with basically no money for defense (something the Federal government is supposed to do, unlike providing retirement income) or any of the other myriad “discretionary” programs the government funds.

We need some dramatic cuts in entitlement spending right now. Not in ten years, right now. Instead what we have been served up is a huge new entitlement that any sane person realizes is going to cost way more than expected and way more than the revenue it is going to bring in. We can keep printing up new money but that Ponzi scheme writ large is eventually going to collapse or lead to hyperinflation.

We are facing a future of job-killing tax rates, shared misery, collapsing credit worthiness for the U.S., civil unrest and likely out of control inflation. I don’t think there will be a safe place for any except the super-rich. The solutions to this problem are found in cuts, i.e. cutting spending and cutting it dramatically. We are going to have to essentially eliminate the old age entitlement programs for younger Americans. We will still have to pay for it until the current recipients all die off but we are never going to “benefit” from it. People in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s are going to have to not only fund programs for others that they will never see, they are going to have to find ways to save for their own retirement on their own while paying for a massive number of entitled seniors that live longer and longer with an ever shrinking number of workers to support them. Because we as a people have been too greedy, too selfish, too lazy and too spineless to address these problems, it is too late and we have destroyed America for our kids.

Ah, forget it. Let’s all just watch American Idol and pretend nothing is wrong. I am sure the problem will just fix itself.
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