The Debt Dilemma

With the ongoing debate about debt, I felt the need to go ahead and publish my thoughts about it–especially because at the rate we’re going, I doubt I’ll have any respect left for any politician on earth in fifteen years, and will probably run for president myself as soon as I turn 35.

In a spirit of all honesty, I will do my utmost to not be too inflammatory in this post, but I’m a seriously concerned citizen in supposedly democratic government, and the issues facing the USA now are too serious for “nice”.

As we all know from the weeks, and weeks, and weeks of debt debate–and should have known long before the debt debate ever started, the United States is seriously in debt– SERIOUSLY in debt–and the debt continues to grow every year.  Every year, the USA is loaned vast sums of money from other countries to fund our ever-growing multitude of programs. And, unlike most blue-collar Americans, our political officials don’t seem to understand the constraints of a checkbook balance (i.e. when your bank account says “$0.00 dollars are available” you know it’s a very, very bad thing.

Unfortunately, the popularity of credit cards has done nothing for us.  Far too many people have this idea that using a credit card is either a) not spending real money, or b) not going to matter in the long run.  This sickening disease is about to kill us.  100 years ago, going into debt was one of the worst things imaginable.  Farmers slaved over their crops, and agonized over pinched pennies to decide if it would really be advantageous to take out a loan for a plow.  Compared to the kinds of loans people take out without even thinking about it today, a loan for a single piece of farm equipment is nothing.  Furthermore, 100 years ago, that farmer was taking out a loan for the survival of his family.  Today we take out a loan because our car is 2 years old.

All this, of course, is nothing compared to the scale of borrowing that the Federal Government has taken in the last 30 years. Our economy is burdened by inflation, restricted by lack of national production, and so near being choked to death by the mounds of regulations different factions produce every year that it’s a wonder anybody still has a job.  Our president, senators, and representatives fought and argued about the deficit dilemma for a year.  A WHOLE YEAR.  And when it came down to it, they had to fight and squeal and argue overtime for 2 weeks because no conclusion had been reached.  The conclusion that they did reach was birthed because they ran out of time.  I fully believe that, had they the ability to extend the time limit again, they would have, and no conclusion would have been reached.

You would think that in such a dire situation, when the fate of the US is literally hanging in the balance, politicians could put aside their differences and actually get some work done.  But of course not.  They’re receiving salaries in excess of 100,000 per year JUST for their lousy service as our senators and representatives.  Is it any wonder we have a debt problem?

Once upon a time, a very, very, very long time ago, the founding fathers of the United States wrote up the budget.  The Federal Government was responsible for 3 things: the military, interstate roads, and the postal service.  That’s it.  Zip. Nada.  Nothing else.  Doesn’t that sound beautifully uncomplicated?  The state governments were in charge of any other issue related specifically to that state.  Education?  “Privatized, or State’s responsibility”.  Healthcare?  “Nobody’s damn business”.  Foreign disaster relief?  “What’s that?”

In 2008, the OED calculated that the US spent about 25 billion dollars in foreign aid.  You heard me, 25 billion.  Granted, it’s a pretty small sliver of the national budget for that year of 2.7 trillion, but it’s still ridiculous.  I was looking at the foreign aid report, just to see if any of it made sense, and surprise, surprise, none of it did.  We gave money to stop drug dealers, we gave money to make people stop bugging Israel, we gave military to their little crises.  Now, I’m  not saying that we shouldn’t help other nations.  Natural disasters happen, and if we’re better off, sending help is the good thing to do.  What nobody wants to realize is that WE ARE NOT BETTER OFF.  We have NO money.  At least until we get rid of this deficit, we shouldn’t be giving money to anybody outside of those three categories the founding fathers listed.  Not some foreign country, not the United Nations, not the EPA, not the Department of Energy, not the department of Housing and Urban Development, not NASA,  not the Natural Science Foundation, not the Small Business Administration, not the Corporation for National and Community Service.  I could keep going, but I won’t.  The point is that those foundations shouldn’t be funded by the federal government.  They should be privately funded.

People get all tense when there’s talk about cutting programs–Republicans and Democrats alike–but the fact of the matter is that without some serious changes, the USA is headed for financial Hiroshima.  Our political representatives need to know how we feel about this.  They need to feel our concern, and know that we don’t want to see them just sticking to their election campaign–we want to see change. This is a democratic government, and if we don’t take initiative and tell our representatives exactly what we think, the financial downfall will be just as much our fault as theirs.

Want to see a difference?  Go ahead and write your state senator, representative, or even the president today.

 

(P.S. I know I didn’t mention the IRS, but my tax reforms speech will have to be another day.  Look for me in the presidential race in 2032 :P)

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