Apocalypse by Deficits and Debt
The one fact about history that we have all heard is that we never learn anything from history. One reason is that many Americans never study history. Put “history” in the title and you can bet readership will tumble. I guess history is just not a compelling subject of interest for many people. An added problem today is that many people are all OCD on social media and do not leave time for serious study of important topics. Given that, I thought “Apocalypse” had a good ring to it.
History is littered with the carcasses of once great nations. The subject here is some history and commentary of U.S. Government deficits and debt, currently resulting in the potential for an apocalypse. Remember please, this is commentary, not technical analysis. My purpose here is to preach to the choir and the congregation; to arm them with ideas that might enable them to go into the world and win converts.
Converts; what converts? To return America to her former glory, we must win converts among those who do not shudder at the nearly 17 Trillion Dollar debt we have saddled upon our children and grandchildren. Some say that enormous debt is the price we must pay to “fundamentally transform America.” The problem with that view is that it offers no valid solutions on how to pay. They will argue for redistribution of wealth, through taxes, but I said “valid” solutions. Experts have done the math, over-taxing the rich will not work. Besides, there are far better solutions. Furthermore, they ignore the lack of consensus for the transformation they want. The problem is this: some folks love their Party and their ideology more than they love their country, but more on that later.
From 1940 through the 2011 fiscal years, our government has posted 12 surpluses and 59 deficits. By comparison, from 1901 to 1939 there were 18 deficit years; a little less than half. Those were years that included the Great Depression. Good times and bad; war and peace; Democrats and Republicans; we have run up a lot of deficits. The largest uninterrupted stretch of deficits came between 1970 and 1997. It seems like Congress can always find reasons to overspend.
Speaking of Congress, during the years 1940 through 2011, Democrats controlled the House for 56 years and Republicans controlled it for 15 years. During the same years, Democrats controlled the Senate for 51 years and Republicans controlled it for 20 years. Before you go all “party politics,” let me remind readers of the insignificance of those numbers. When in control, Republicans often ran up deficits, too. No, both political parties must be blamed for the deficits.
Occasionally, wars or rebuilding after a war cause sizable deficit spending. Sometimes a few extraordinary natural disasters can cause a few billion in unplanned spending. In times past, plain old government generosity usually did the trick. You know the game; the party in office throws money at all takers; the party gets reelected at taxpayer expense. Oh how they love those “bridges to nowhere” and exit ramps to their very own, personal Profit Land.
“[B]etween 1960 and 2010, entitlements exploded from 28 percent to 66 percent of federal spending. By 2010, more than 34 percent of households were receiving means-tested benefits.” –George Will
As you can see, even government handouts and corruption cannot compare with the rising costs of entitlements: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Many experts say that entitlements are breaking the budget. And, in the same article just quoted, Mr. Will also says that Republicans are complicit in the deficit spending. I agree.
The federal government does not have a gigantic savings account with trillions of dollars on tap. In fact, government operates without a cash reserve. Therefore, deficit spending requires the necessity of borrowing, sometimes from foreign countries and foreign investors.
Why are deficits a big deal now? They have been going on for a long time. Yes, but the exponential growth of the costs of entitlements in the past few decades has become a game changer. Add in the costs of bailouts and Obama's failed stimulus programs and we have a time when the national debt is growing at an alarming rate. Here is the timeline:
It took around 225 years for the USA to acquire 5 Trillion Dollars of national debt. Over the next eight years, the administration of George W. Bush doubled that to approximately 10 Trillion Dollars; a growth of 5 Trillion in eight years. In the next four years, the Obama gang added another 6.5 Trillion Dollars. Yes, a growth of 6.5 Trillion Dollars of debt in just four years.
Politicians often “bet on the come” by running up deficits today, hoping a growth in GDP will bail them out tomorrow.
As a result of debt and some extra deficit spending in the form of further stimulus actions, the U.S. Government has suffered a credit downgrade twice in two years. The rating dropped from AAA to AA+ and now to AA-. Left unchecked, debt and inflation can weaken our currency value and add substantially to our economic woes. That is the big picture. The even bigger picture is that all these things spell a diminished national security.
And now we have reached the heart of the matter. A strong economy and a reasonable control of spending make way for a strong national defense. Deficits and debt weaken our nation. In this new age of asymmetrical and cyber warfare, the costs are nearly impossible to estimate. New technologies are needed quickly. Resources of personnel and material may need to be deployed to many, concurrent hotspots on short notice. In 2010, Richard Clarke wrote that the U.S. did not have an established cyber war defense plan. What will that cost?
You get the picture. To close, allow me now to enumerate the important points:
1) Americans cannot have liberty without security.
2) We cannot have a strong national defense without a strong economy and a strong dollar.
3) We cannot have a strong dollar and a strong economy while saddled with excess debt.
4) We cannot eliminate debt until we first eliminate deficits.
5) We cannot eliminate deficits until we reduce spending and increase revenue, hopefully by growing the economy.
6) Spending can only be reduced when the politicians and the people begin to love their country more than they love their political party or ideology.
There it is: a bottom-up solution. It begins when the choir and the congregation make enough converts, one neighbor at a time, and one politician at a time, to begin a shift in momentum and direction. We will need God's help. The present momentum is toward secular-progressivism with a goal of “fundamentally transforming America” into an uninhabitable desolation. The deceived of that movement have no idea how to pay for the transformation, but with distant stare they will chant their mantra, “tax the rich; tax the rich.” They love their Party and their ideology more than their country. Lord, give us converts, please.
George Rogers Clark blogs at myFreeBlogs: http://www.myfreeblogs.us