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Kicking the can along the cliff’s edge

January 3, 2013

Federal Debt

America’s deficit spending crisis draws ever nearer to disaster.

The federal debt is now $52,340 for every citizen or $133,869 for every household in America (on top of their mortgage and other personal debt) — and increasing every day faster than ever.

If that isn’t enough to get citizens interested politics, what is?  (Want to better understand the debt problem, visit the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office website here.)

Now, instead of kicking the can down the road, the politicians are kicking it along the edge of the fiscal cliff.

The so-called “solution” hammed out by Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell raises taxes on everybody — which will put more pressure on an already sluggish economy and keep unemployment figures too high.

The real issue — the federal government’s addiction to unsustainable levels of spending — remains unaddressed.  In fact, the Biden/McConnell compromise actually delayed much-needed spending cuts for at least the next several months.

Now the stage is set for the next self-created political “crisis” — the upcoming fight over increasing the debt ceiling.  Based on their records, it’s likely that Congress and the President will once again find ways to avoid facing up to the problem in any meaningful way.

Meaningful solutions are available, as outlined in these chapters in the Fixing America’s Broken Politics book:   Deficit Spending, Entitlements and Taxes.

The longer the politicians play this partisan brinksmanship the more devastating the eventual day of reckoning will be for all of us.  That’s why citizens must eventually rise up and demand the reforms that would rein in the career politicians who are at the root of the problem.

Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson explains the fiscal cliff situation well, although he puts most of the blame on the President.  I’m more inclined to equally blame Congress, the President and both political parties.

They all belong to the political elite that is thriving while the rest of the country suffers.

They get elected and reelected by promising more “free” benefits for everybody without having the guts to pay for what they’re handing out.  Instead they incur massive debt that will eventually have to be repaid — and that will bring the nation to its knees if not dealt with soon.

Most of them dramatically increase their personal wealth while in office — which should be reason enough for citizens to realize how corrupt and self-serving they are.

They are the arsonists who congratulate themselves for temporarily and inadequately dousing the economic fire that they themselves ignited and continue to fan.

How long will citizens — we the people — put up with this?

  1. Tom Basso permalink

    Amen Joe!


  2. The threshold question to ask any debtor is whether he, she, or it can afford it? The inconvenient reality is that U.S. federal government debt is now a smaller share of the overall national economy than it’s been in decades, since Nixon ruled the roost. Some say Hoover. What’s important is economic growth.

    As veteran GOP adviser Bruce Bartlett pointed out in today’s online edition of The Fiscal Times, the real danger of Federal budget deficits and debt is not insolvency, hyperinflation, or higher interest rates — unfulfilled calamities long predicted by deficit hawks — but private investment preemption, which, ultimately, squeezes productivity, reduces economic growth, and retards incomes. Says Bartlett: “It’s a problem more akin to termites eating at your home’s foundation than a hurricane that will bring the whole house down at once.”


  3. Mike Ruddell permalink

    More evidence, our government is broken. No clue of how “basic” economics work. The deems keep getting elected because they are giving away as much as they can to get power (i.e. an entitled electorate). And as for the G.O.P., let’s just say in Texas, they would be called steers.


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