Both political parties own this and should ‘own up’ to owning it. This was not done by Democrats alone nor by Republicans alone, but by politicians falling prey to the temptation to use our money for political purposes and power solidification. Sadly, many politicians of all stripes have gone to Washington, DC only to become rich, influential, and powerful. Their windfalls from the graft and corruption in politics have not benefitted the average American or America, it has fed their avarice and lust for money and power. I believe that our Founding Fathers and the Framers of the American Constitution would be turning over in their graves if they could see where we are today. They warned, and we failed to heed their warnings, now we are paying!
With a national debt of over $21 TRILLION and no relief in sight, many of us realize the crime that has been perpetrated against future generations and lament. However, it appears that our lamenting did not reach the level or has come too late to efficiently and effectively deal with the issue. The two-headed monster (debt and deficit) rising out of an out of control federal government is more frightening than any Horror Movie presentation.
The Treasury Department’s “Debt to the Penny” release shown below is alarming.
It is reported by various governmental agencies and independent auditing organizations that of the almost $22 TRILLION national debt about two-thirds of that is held by the public. Our government has written IOUs, so to speak, in the form of U.S. Treasury bills, notes, and bonds to individuals, companies, and foreign governments. We Owe Ourselves more than we can ever pay and if it were not so serious I would think of it as Wimpy cartoons, “I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Sadly, that would be quite a hamburger and I wish I could just laugh it off.
The remaining third of the national debt is intragovernmental debt. Our government owes itself and especially the Social Security Trust Fund an enormous amount of money. If the various governmental agencies and departments such as Social Security were left alone they would have surpluses in their coffers. However, since Lyndon B. Johnson, the federal government has been ‘borrowing’ money from Social Security to pay other departments. I say, ‘borrowing’ because it is too troubling to say, ‘stealing’ from those of us who paid into that system for years. Call it what you will, it is bankrupting Social Security and other governmental agencies and politicians seem oblivious. Sadly, the public only sees the TOTAL not the why and how we have gotten there.
The past thirty years have been disastrous for us regarding the national debt. How did we let this happen? One of the ways is lack of information by the voting public. Another is lack of concern or sufficient concern to move us from our apathy to involvement. The national debt has largely been ignored at the voting public. Possibly because many did not want to touch the ‘golden goose’ that was feeding them or because we wanted to ‘leave the politics to the politicians.’ Bad Mistake and possibly a fatal one.
From 1989 to 2017 the national debt rose 608.61%. It is not just paper debt, it is real, and the doubly troubling aspect is that the secured national debt is a drop in the bucket for what we owe. America has the largest ‘sovereign debt’ in the world. It is equivalent to the European Union’s debt and that is a unified trade body with about 28-member countries. If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing I can say will. But alas, I must try. The question is not how large the debt is but how did we get there and is there any solutions short of catastrophic cuts and crippling many parts of the American economy in an attempt to get control?
The growth of our national debt skyrocketed under former President Barack Obama and it grew the most dollar-wise under him. The largest percentage increase came under former President Franklin D. Roosevelt with an increase of 1,048% but only $236 BILLION. That should get your attention realizing that comparative smallness of our national debt in the World War II era and now. Former President George W. Bush had the second largest deficit. Every president, for a long time, has borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund. The SSA took in more revenue than it needed from payroll taxes and should have been left alone and reinvested to the benefit of the retirees and future retirees, but it wasn’t. It has been pillaged by Democrats and Republicans.
Countries such as China and Japan are happy to buy our Treasuries to keep their currencies low relative to the American dollar. We are their largest customer and their open-door lending keeps us buying their products and keeps them strong. Even China has issued warnings to the U.S. to lower its debt, but alas, politicians turn a deaf ear to the warnings of other nations and economist worldwide. They have found a means to buy votes and refuse to relinquish that stranglehold on America. They know that to seriously reduce the debt they would have to dramatically reduce the deficit and take some austere measures that would likely get them voted out. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
We need to step away from, no run from the ‘baseline budgeting’ and run to the ‘zero-based budgeting’ plan. In the current system every department and budget receives an automatic increase and if the politicians cut the size of the increase they claim they are cutting the budget, but it is still larger than the year before. Where is the cut? In the Zero-Based Budget Plan, every department and foreign aid recipient would begin at ZERO and be required to present valid arguments and realistic budgets for the year. In that system, some would receive ZERO and go the way of the dinosaur into extinction.
In our personal budgets, we are not able to spend more than we take in, at least not for very long. If our income is less than outgo we end up bankrupt and lose virtually everything. Individually, if we are wise, we force ourselves to live within our means. If there is something we need or want, we budget and save for it and when we can afford the payments or the price we buy but not until. The federal government never thinks about affordability but demand that which they deem is needed. We are in this mess because we keep electing politicians who are willing to bury us in debt. We need to send people to Washington, Republicans, and Democrats who will have the intestinal fortitude to ‘do the right thing’ and REDUCE the Debt and Deficit. My friends, money does not grow on trees!
God bless you and God bless America!