According to “CBO: Without Action, National Debt Will Exceed GDP in 2021”, an article appearing in today’s International Business Times, “The national debt will surge to 101% of U.S. GDP, a measure of the economy’s size, in 2021, the CBO said.” 2021 is a mere ten years away. That means we’d be following in the footsteps of Greece, who’s economic woes are leading to “austerity” measures, rioting in the streets and a general sense of hopelessness and anger. Bailing out a sinking ship is an iffy proposition. Even if you keep bailing it out, you reach a point of no return and it sinks anyway.
In case you don’t know what the CBO is, they are the Congressional Budget Office. According to their own web site, the “CBO’s mandate is to provide the Congress with objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions …” Another statement on their web site further explains, “By statute, CBO’s baseline projections must estimate the future paths of federal spending and revenues under current law and policies. The baseline is therefore not intended to be a prediction of future budgetary outcomes; instead, it is meant to serve as a neutral benchmark that lawmakers can use to measure the effects of proposed changes to spending and taxes.”
So, what we have is a non-partisan group of professional expert analysts telling Congress that, on our present course, in ten years we will not be financially solvent. (GDP means gross domestic product, or the total value of what we produce as a nation.) In other words, we are heading towards the kind of economic collapse Greece currently finds itself in. To avoid that, there needs to be a drastic change in how our government spends money. The Obama administration came to power promising change. But the change they offer only accelerates us toward fiscal disaster. Like a drunken driver speeding toward a cliff, Congress is taking us on a suicidal ride. We must stop, and stop now.
Basically, there are two approaches to solving our debt crisis and avoiding financial collapse: slash government spending (reduce the “out” flow) and grow the economy (increase the “in” flow). Both approaches need to be applied in the most dramatic of ways. For instance, many government programs need to be cut or completely eliminated. It’s regrettable that some people now receiving services will suffer, but WE JUST CAN’T AFFORD TO KEEP BORROWING MONEY WE DON’T HAVE TO SPEND!
Even more important than spending cuts, is building up the economy. You do that by removing the yoke of government oppression from the backs of entrepreneurs. Get rid of over-regulation, which stifles business. Create jobs by rebuilding our manufacturing base. That means scrapping trade agreements, such as NAFTA and GAT, that favor foreign production and keep manufacturing costs artificially low by paying slave wages to third world workers. Stop the globalization of economies, because the only ones who profit are the big boys of the multi-national corporations. The American worker suffers because he can’t find a job and our GDP suffers because our manufacturing base has moved to third world countries.
America still has an outrageous amount of natural resources. But those who would destroy American culture have constrained us with cries of “protect the environment” and so we abandon our own resources. We have been fed lies about the “unsustainability” of certain industries: lumber, petroleum, even hydroelectric power — the cheapest, cleanest power souce. Current popular opinion scoffs at the idea of “managing” proven resources that are financially sound. Instead, they opt to preserve the earth in it’s natural state, worship it (but not its creator) and let everyone live “green”, as if they were part of an Ewok village.
But life on Earth is no sci-fi fantasy. When we can no longer afford our American lifestyle, when things like cars, electricity, clean water and food are at a premium, We won’t be like those happy Ewoks. We’ll be more like the residents of townships in South Africa. When you live in a hovel and your bathroom is an open trench, and you have to scrounge around for bits of wood to cook your dinner (when you are lucky enough to have food to cook) you will look at what is called “the poverty level” today in America, and realize you never had it so good. And even if you are fortunate enough to luxuriate at that so-called poverty level, you will need to be worrying about the roving bands of cutthroats who just take what they want when they see it, because there’s not enough money for police.
Can things really get that bad? We will find out soon enough if Congress continues screwing around. What concerns me is the number of people who don’t even stop for a moment to consider the possibility that it could happen if nothing is done to change the course. Lots of folks appear unconcerned about continual purchases on their credit cards. As long as they can make minimum payments, they don’t really pay too much attention to the growing amount they owe on their charge card. But eventually, something’s got to give. Either you pay off your debts or declare bankruptcy. That’s the point our federal government is fast approaching. As a retired person, this state of affairs makes me sad. I already was angry, years ago when some of us saw this coming and we could have easily done something then to avoid being in the present mess. But voters wouldn’t stop their demands for big government to take care of everything and solve every problem and set up more and more government programs. And big government did what big government does. And now we have to pay the piper.
What makes me sad is that so many in government and the media deny the seriousness of all this. They refuse to acknowledge that things are as bad as they are and refuse to take any corrective action. They don’t look at the factual data: the national debt, the GDP, the weakening of our currency, our increasing trade deficit and shrinking manufacturing base, and nasty little factoids such as unfunded liabilities. These things are all very real, and Congress ignores them at our peril. Perhaps they are thinking, “Why bother? Like the Mayan calendar, everything will end next year anyway. We might as well enjoy the present, since we don’t have much of a future to look forward to.” If so, let me go on record that, should the Lord tarry and we find ourselves confronted with compounded difficulties in 2013, the sorriest folks will be those who, ostrich-like, pull their heads out of the sand and realize, as Harold Camping and his followers did, how silly they really are.