Editorial by Barbara Cornell.
Syndicated from Barbara Cornell’s personal blog.
Suppose you have a friend who who makes $45k a year who owes $50k in credit card debt — not mortgages, not car loans, not loans that build equity, just simple living-beyond-his-means consumer debt — and expects to owe $100k in credit card debt by the end of next year because of things he’s already bought but hasn’t received the bills for yet. Now this friend asks you, «Do you think I should buy season tickets to the Mets or should I install a third swimming pool at my 2nd beach house?»
What do you tell your friend?
The US Congress is that friend.
Our current federal debt ($14 trillion) exceeds our gross domestic product (approx $13 trillion) and the federal debt is expected to double in the next few years*
Translation: The federal government could confiscate 100% of everything everyone in the entire country produces this year and still not pay off what we owe on what we’ve already spent, and we’ve already made agreements to double this problem before we have any opportunity to «counsel» (with our votes) the people in government who are currently in office.
Taxation has no hope of fixing anything (unless you and everybody you know is prepared to work for the next two years without pay to bail out the country). So, discussions of whether we should tax the rich people more or corporations more, or whether we should have tax credits for production or tax credits for working poor are pointless. The time when we had any choice of what we should pay for and what we should not has come and gone. Soon we will not be able to borrow enough to meet basic human needs (clean water, police protection, defense of our national borders, sewage pumped somewhere besides the middle of the streets).
It no longer matters which project you believe deserves to be paid for by the US taxpayer.
The Age of Entitlement must end.
That isn’t a political imperative. That is a simple, emotionless statement of fact.
Let me put it another way:
The Age of Entitlement will end.
Whether you believe that it should or not, whether you believe that it ever existed or not, whether you think it’s fair to use the term or not, it will end.
The only choice we have now is whether we can prevent this nation from becoming the next third world.
*For skeptics: depends on whom you talk to. The White House official budget publicity release says both that the budgets over the next 3 years will incur deficits of over $6 trillion and that they will reduce the debt by $1.1 trillion. I’m not sure whom they think they’re fooling with their double talk. However, estimates that include expected reduction in the amount that social security will contribute to the federal budget place the deficits much higher even than their worst-case admissions.