Any of us who have the time to watch the news reports about the on-going financial debacles in Europe should open our eyes to the problems here at home, because I believe that they’re far worse than any Greek collapse. Since 2008, the government of the United States has spent trillions of dollars to avert ‘the worst recession of all time’, to hear the political spin it, with nothing to show for it. According to usgovernmentspending.com, in the last two fiscal years of the Bush Administration, the federal budget posted a deficit of almost 1.7 trillion dollars. The whole of Greece’s GDP is only about 300 billion dollars. Under the Obama Administration so far, the federal government has stepped up the race to the bottom by adding 3.5 trillion to the deficit, depending on whose numbers you believe. According to the CBO, the United States took in 2.17 trillion dollars in revenue, but spent 3.82 trillion dollars. With tens if not hundreds of trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, and a skyrocketing personal debt, who is going to come along and bail out America? Will the Chinese politburo, India, and the European Union decide that America is too big to fail? That’s assuming that they’ll have the money to set the books straight. To be quite honest, I do not think there is enough money on the planet to dig ourselves out of the hole.
In the ill-named Budget Control Act of 2011, Congress made the feeblest attempts in history to detox from their spending addiction. Day in and day out, when the political pundits and politicians were raising hell about the prospects of America breaking through the debt ceiling, the wise old heads in Congress got together and made a grand deal that would save the Republic from ruin. At least, if we were still living in a world that took its obligations seriously that’s what would’ve happened. Instead, the American people had a proposal that cut 917 billion dollars from the deficit over ten years. Ten years. Our added deficit for a single fiscal year is almost twice that amount, and I think we’re being generous if we believe that the government will actually cut 917 billion dollars. What the Tea Party brought attention to is something that we as Americans have to consider. We cannot let politicians fool us in thinking that they’re “serious” about this problem. A country that spends twice as much as it takes in each year is a country whose days are numbered.
So, what do we do about it? I think that if we want to show the rest of the world that we’re serious we have to start completely eliminating cabinet departments and return those responsibilities to the states. We have to reform (or get rid of) expensive entitlement programs. We cannot afford to support more nation-building; it’s too expensive and it’s difficult to force democracy on a bunch of primitive tribal people who have known nothing but war and corruption for generations. We also need to smarten up. We’re the ones who put those airheads in Congress, and until we start searching for people that are not afraid to hack the federal budget to death, we’ll never get away from this problem.
I run into arguments with people on the other side who bawk when I suggest that we need to completely eliminate the entitlement state. Those like me are accused of being cold and heartless. Which is more heartless, facing the reality that there is bloat and corruption propping up a system that rewards people who give nothing to the federal government, or continuing to advocate for programs that will bring this nation to financial collapse? If someone out there is a supporter of the Obama Healthcare Law, I want to know how we’re going to pay for something like that. If we cannot already meet our current financial obligations, does it make any sense to pile on more? If you’re riding on the current circumstance that American currency is the world currency, you’re sitting on a dying horse. Permanence is an illusion. Rome learned that. Ancient Greece learned that. Now, modern Greeks are struggling to come to terms with an out-of-control government, and we need to do so as well.
We cannot delude ourselves into thinking that we will always be the hyperpower of the world without sacrifice on the battlefield and at home. I strongly believe that unless we become more frugal individually, and nationally, then we will not inherit the same great country of our parents. We will work longer hours, earn less money, and pay more in taxes with less and less to show for it. I do not want that to be the world that I raise my children in, but with each passing day it looks more and more likely unless someone has the courage to make a stand.
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