Who is Responsible for Creating America’s National Debt?
In my last article, I described how Republicans and Democrats have equally contributed to America’s national debt AND to our economic crisis. That raised a lot of ire from some people on some blogs, and I’m fine with that because anger is always the response when you try to break through denial, especially mass denial.
Not everyone, however, is to blame for the continued pile-up of debt. Here is a litmus test as to wether you are a contributor to the problem or part of the solution. (So, don’t take offense if what I said doesn’t apply to you. And, if you don’t live in the US, you can probably still apply similar thinking toward understanding who is responsible for your national debt wherever you live.)
When I used the term “we” in my last article, I meant the majority of the US populace that elects our government — 40% of which is Die-hard Democrat and 40% of which is Recalcitrant Republican. If you religiously support either party, you support the oligarchy. You support the establishment that caused this mess. If you don’t, you’re not part of the majority of this generation; so, you are not part of the problem.
Here is the litmus test as to whether you fit among the huge crowd of citizens that IS the problem because it wants what it wants NOW but isn’t willing to pay for it NOW:
Unless you are willing to forego a strong military and forego numerous welfare programs OR are willing to say to the government, “Tax me whatever it takes to pay for those things,” then you are the problem. You are the problem because you are the reason politicians keep running deficits. They can trust you — depend on you — to keep voting for establishment candidates.
To consider yourself one who is not part of the problem, you have to either pony up and pay for ALL that you want NOW as you get it or agree to go without. Otherwise, you are the reason America’s national debt will never be repaid, BUT will always demand repayment (always tax our children and grandchildren to cover the interest on what you bought for your generation now).
If you are a Republican and you don’t want to pay NOW with HIGHER taxes for the military you want or are a Democrat but dont want to pay NOW for the all welfare you want, you’re the problem … unless you’re willing to let a good part of what you want go in order to keep your taxes down! You’re the greedy generation that either wants to be strong with other people’s money or wants to be generous with other people’s money. You are breaking the country by demanding what you want. If, on the other hand, you’re willing to say, “I’ll accept a less robust military and fewer welfare programs; they’re breaking us, and we cannot afford them,” then you are NOT among the “we” generation. Likewise, if are willing to say, “I’ll pay whatever it takes to have them,” then you are not among the “we” generation. The “we” generation says, “WE deserve it all in our time, and YOU pay for it in yours.”
Of course, Republicans will gladly sacrifice the welfare side of the budget in order to balance the budget. That’s no credit to them. Anyone can sacrifice what they don’t like. By the same token, Democrats will gladly sacrifice the military side to balance the budget. My point is that, if you’re only willing to go as far as to sacrifice the parts you don’t like, you are the problem because that will never get us to the level of cutting needed to balance the budget nor ever get the other side to go along so that you can pass such a budget.
We’ve had, at least, thirty years of that. It doesn’t work. When you have two equally strong opposing sides, they have to be equally willing to give and take, if they’re going to achieve a balanced budget. To balance a budget this far out of whack, you have to take deep cuts to the parts you want, or there is no give and take.
Right now, we have two parties who are not willing to deeply cut what they want. Because they are intractable, they hand the bill to the next generation so they can all come out of their meetings with as much as possible of what each side wants to buy. They find all kinds of rationales about how it can be handled in the future (when they won’t have to deal with it).
Until we are willing to forego a lot of what we want (or pay a lot more so that both sides can have what they want), we are certainly destined to stay in this stalemate where we inflate America’s national debt. The additional cost for both sides to keep what they want and balance the budget each year is about a half a trillion extra dollars in new annual taxes. So, demand huge tax increases if you’re going to keep your part of the budget that you want, or demand huge spending cuts to the very things you like. That’s the only thing that will get this job done and put us back to living within our own means, not our grandchildren’s means.
There is no other solution. It’s math. It’s an unpleasant truth that those addicted to debt will fight (with all the rage that comes with breaking through denial), but it’s a simple truth all the same. You cannot change the other side, you can only change yourself.
[amazon_link id=”1614347093″ target=”_blank” ]The media failed to question why the Pentagon said America’s national debt is our biggest security risk. A corporate banker and contributor to The Economist, The Financial Times, Financial Week, and Investment News explains how dire the national debt really is. “I found this book to be more terrifying than any Stephen King novel and very eye opening.” [/amazon_link]
Not everyone in this generation is part of America’s national debt problem
So, chill if you’re not.
You can see that you may very well be one of the people who doesn’t fit on either side of that majority that repeatedly elects the establishment (the “oligarchy”). You may be one of the few who actually says, “Charge me more, or give me less of what I want.” In that case, you stand outside the “we” — the majority — that drives and enables the current pathetic state of affairs.
Because you are the minority in a democracy, you are by definition also relatively powerless to do much about it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, buy generic ambien online uk just as I try here, because the country is worth trying for more than it is worth giving up on. It would be highly unpatriotic to give up on such a great country when other gave their blood to create the freedoms we have in this democracy. So, fight for it.
No one is going to turn the tide by saying what everyone wants to hear. I have no illusion that I can change tidal flows even in public opinion; but I’m going to stick with saying the truth that people don’t like to hear, regardless, (simply because it is the right thing to do), and the tide can drown me out if it wants to
As an example of what it takes to not be part of the problem, I want a strong military, but I am willing to make major cuts in how we deploy that military by keeping our nose out of other people’s business. We have failed miserably at nation building wherever we have tried to restamp everything in our image. If the world is less democratic because we don’t intrude everywhere, then so be it. We cannot solve the world’s problems when we obviously cannot even solve our own. We need to ditch the arrogance that makes us think we are invincible and have the strength to solve everyone else’s problems. We do have the strength to defend ourselves quite well, and we should defend ourselves.
At the same time, while I don’t like a lot of our welfare programs and especially don’t like seeing our welfare go to illegal aliens, I am willing to pay higher taxes to balance the budget, while I try to fight some of these excesses. One cost of living in a democracy is you have to pay for what others want if they outvote you. It’s irresponsible to foist that off on another generation. My willingness to pay for welfare, however, won’t balance the budget unless Democrats are willing to get off their high horses and seriously cut back on welfare. As I said in my last article, they have no basis for believing they are providing it out of generosity because they are not paying for it!
I have not voted for either party for a long time because I see neither establishment as willing to make the kinds of cuts that must be made. It leaves me as a man without a candidate; but I’m not going to give my support to establishment candidates just because the two controlling parties give me no sensible choices.
I won’t vote for a communist candidate either because communism hasn’t proven good in any nation on this earth. It only works on a small communal level, and often breaks apart like a rock band, even at that level. I’m for free markets, but I am also for regulating out the worst behaviors because we know they will cause us problems (so why face the natural and painful correction that capitalism brings, which we have not faced anyway because we let the capitalists socialize all their losses?)
So, I am fighting the establishment that causes these debts and that corruptly supports its greedy cronies. I have been fighting America’s national debt in a non-partisan way all of my adult life, and I will continue fighting it because America’s national debt is outrageous and selfish. Instead of fighting for parties and candidates (which is simply joining a comfortable social club), I fight for ideas and wise government.
You don’t have to agree with my politics above, however, to keep from being part of the problem and to become part of the answer. That’s just an example of where I have to be willing to accept some of what I don’t want. In a similar fashion, you just have to be willing to cut back on expecting the government to fund things you believe in, if you are going to insist others cut back on funding the things they believe in. You have to be willing to negotiate quid pro quo, as bad as that tastes, until you get to a balanced budget. And that’s how congress used to run for the overall good of the nation many years ago … by compromise.
You’ll also have to agree to pay taxes at about the level we did under Clinton, as that level did not curb investment and raised the maximum amount of revenue without too much pain, and you need to make it clear to the party of your nearest preference that you will not vote for any candidate who is not willing to do the same with both cuts and taxes. If you’re not willing to endure that pain, then you are flushing away your children’s future in this country.
We will never “grow” our way out of this problem. So, silence those who continue that nonsense. We have heard that lie for thirty years: cut taxes and investment will grow us out of the problem. It has never worked, and it has certainly been tried. What worked was the balance we had under a Clinton executive branch and a Gingrich congress where congress agreed to raise taxes but also forced cost cuts. We simply cannot have everything we want, and that may include Obamacare.
Is there any kind of responsible debt that stimulates the economy?
One kind of national debt that I have said in the past is responsible is debt taken on to build physical assets that will endure well into the next generation and that we are fairly certain the next generation will need because then we are balancing America’s national debt with a cost savings equal in their own time to the debt we hand off (with what they would accumulate in interest being offset somewhat by what they save on inflation).
Another kind of addition to the national debt that would not be unfair to the next generation would be educating the next generation to get them off to a good start.
Those things would have truly benefited the economy longterm if well targeted. Both Obama and congress should have focused on that kind of stimulus seven years ago, not on underwriting banks.
However, I think we have exceeded our capacity to add any more of either kind of expense. America’s national debt is already debilitating. At the moment, interest on the debt is extremely low; but now that the Fed has started raising interest rates, the interest on the debt will rise, too, and we’ll find out how debilitating it is. Economic crisis is building, and D-day (debt-bomb day) is rapidly approaching in the coming Epocalypse.
More reading on the risks of America’s national debt and how to resolve it:
[amazon_enhanced asin=”0307947645″ /][amazon_enhanced asin=”0802717993″ /][amazon_enhanced asin=”1614347093″ /][amazon_enhanced asin=”0060155604″ /][amazon_enhanced asin=”1586489127″ /]