The public debt of $14.3 trillion, mammoth as it is, pales in comparison to the future liabilities the United States has agreed to pay. Money guaranteed for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security exceeds $62 trillion beyond receipts. Add in all entitlements promised by the government and the guarantee tops $80 trillion. Few are interested in financing the huge American indebtedness with extremely low yields on U.S. Treasurys. The real pressure to cut dramatically mounts while the United States Senate, dominated by deluded figures like Harry Reid, continue to push for massive government spending programs.
If we look at the gap between guaranteed spending and receipts from just last year, the total exceeds $3.2 trillion. That gap will widen dramatically over the next ten years. The failure to make substantial cuts in spending and to adopt the kind of privatization approaches for Medicare and Social Security I have advocated in prior Newswithviews.com columns and in public speeches courts a disaster the likes of which we have never seen, greater in effect and duration than the Great Depression.
The single most significant threat to the survival of the United States is its enormous debt and unrestricted entitlements. The nations of the world that have financed our debt, most notably the Chinese, are increasingly driven to demand assurances of fiscal restraint on the threat of limiting future financing. Fears that the United States will default on what it owes are real and are affecting global money markets, depressing stock prices and causing many to buy gold and silver rather than risk reliance on the United States dollar.
The typical politician has little courage and fears a loss of public support if he or she admits the extent of the crisis and calls for reform. Most members of Congress are pedestrian in the extreme, favoring avoidance of significant problems and issues so as to limit adverse public reaction. They miscalculate the will of the American people. If serious measures are not undertaken before the general elections in 2012, many members will be sent packing (and good riddance to them).
Former President George W. Bush, President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi have driven the nation into this mess. Rather than deregulate, permit institutions on shaky financial legs to fail, and eliminate the personal income tax to fuel a rapid market recovery, they engineered the greatest expansion in federal programs, unlimited growth in regulation of industry, and bail outs with strings attached ever achieved in our nation’s history. They are the architects of debt. Aware of the burdens they were imposing on every American to satisfy the dire needs of a few, they sacrificed the nation for the sake of bankers, automobile manufacturers, and a host of select other debtors.
The trillions committed beyond the nation’s means came atop existing entitlements already out of control. President Bush’s head of the Energy and Commerce Committee Billy Tauzin inserted into the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit bill a provision that prohibits the United States from negotiating down the unit price of drugs based on volume. That single move, supported by President Bush and defended tooth and nail by former Congressman Billy Tauzin invited assumption of unsustainable debt, led Bush’s former Director of the General Accounting Office, Dan Walker, to predict a consequential financial ruin (before the recession).
The only responsible course for this nation is to cut spending and entitlements dramatically and to eliminate the personal income tax. The engine of free enterprise that fuels the economy cannot afford the enormous burdens the government now imposes and will impose into the indefinite future. Because Congress will not exercise the needed restraint, the hope for the nation depends on individual action. We have to vote out of office all those who have supported the present system, putting in their place those willing to make the hard choices to save the nation.