By Chic Hollis – Philosophical Musings
According to an article I read in my daily newspaper this week-end: “The Obama administration reported that the federal deficit hit a near record $1.3 trillion for the just-completed budget year.” Does anyone who read that blurb in the papers know what one trillion 300 hundred billion dollars amounts to per taxpayer? Or how much does each one of the 300 million legal citizens who live in America owe the creditors for financing our federal government’s profligacy? I didn’t think so.
The article observed further: “That means the government had to borrow 37 cents out of every dollar it spent!” Can anyone in America borrow 37% of the money he or she spends during a whole year? Most Americans have forgotten President Kennedy’s famous words, “Ask not what the government can do for you, ask what you can do for your government!” Someone, some day is going to be required to bail out this “too big to fail” federal government!
The good news was of course, “The deficit for 2010 was $122 billion less than last year!” What group of bankers on this planet has financed such a spendthrift enterprise two years in a row? Is that why the Fed has dictated such low interest rates, Mr. Bernanke? Is A.I.G. insuring these very risky obligations? Are the natural resources underground in our National Parks adequate collateral? The inflated value of the gold bricks buried at Fort Knox is definitely inadequate!
What sovereign nation on this planet can borrow a fraction of one trillion dollars? The World Bank and the IMF together don’t have the financial resources to loan deserving countries such a sum of money. Our country’s financial “needs” include the costs of pre-emptive wars, unsustainable entitlement programs, and a government bureaucracy that can’t keep close tabs on Wall Street gamblers and greedy mortgage bankers. Our polarized Congress won’t take action to restore income tax rates to prior levels because many members face elections next month!
The responsible leaders of the Golden State of California use smoke and mirrors to “balance” our annual state budget, but they can’t print money as the Fed can. Such tactics can’t hide back-to-back years of fiscal irresponsibility. Modern governments at all levels are striving to become tax-everything socialistic bureaucracies that can’t stop spending revenue they don’t have. In America spending is “good,” taxing is “bad” and to be avoided, and deficits are the natural result.
The Great Recession once again proves that virtuous leaders are not in charge in America. Those in charge justify what they do by spreading fear of worse economic times, more lay-offs, terrorist attacks, and the latest flu epidemic. The majority of these cowards don’t have the spine to do what’s right in the first place especially when that requires some living constituent to suffer and some other unhappy living constituent to pay the tab.
Plato warned his followers that a republic was only as virtuous as its citizens. Responsible people must choose to obey the law, help others when they can, and abide by a moral code of selecting the best solution to a problem that does the most good for the most people over the long term. In our complicated and overly sophisticated lifestyle, consideration of the options for implementing the best possible solution are clouded by smooth rhetoric and scare tactics of our elected representatives and the media that serves them, not us.
Trying to minimize the bad effects of poor administration, weak surveillance, and discriminatory laws with huge loopholes, seems like an admirable response. But it only proves that the foresight in approving the original methods to manage this anti-authoritarian human society were deficient, if not outright perverse. At every level of a business, the savvy workers involved know what works on the job and what should be avoided to prevent future problems.
The universities employ expert researchers to study human nature and what is to be expected from angry deviates and vengeful malcontents. A new sickness pervades our high-tech integrated society which impedes progress: the evilness of some humans in using the Internet and email for nefarious schemes. Most citizens want freedom from the attacks of these culprits. As usual, however, little action has been undertaken by those who have the power to restrict widespread anti-social behavior.
The authors of that alarming article warned that “…the deficit for the 2011 budget year, which began on October 1, 2010, will climb to $1.4 trillion.” More “good” news? I suppose that depends on your vantage point. From mine, such a forecast indicates that no one will do anything in the near future to rein in spending or increase taxes in a serious effort to reduce this sick habit of our federal government to spend more than a conservative estimate of what revenue is likely to be available.
Such recklessness is not going to be contained any time soon. There is no magic solution, and no one but ourselves to rectify our bad spending habits. Listen to the ongoing argument in Congress over how to remedy the situation: no one wants to risk doing something that makes the present situation worse. But who knows what “worse” might actually be?
What can be worse today for those unhappy campers without jobs than having an irresponsible government pretending to be doing the “right” things? Especially when the “right” thing more often than not is biting the bullet, making a tough decision promptly, and risking your own well-paid job? Doing that takes courage, a virtue that seems to be missing in most of our present honorable leaders!
The fiscal health of this nation must be restored soon somehow, and that means all citizens must assist in sacrificing and paying for the sins of the past. A nation doesn’t make social progress without everyone pitching in and doing what’s necessary to correct the mistakes that have caused the present economic conditions. Some of us will suffer more than others, but that must be expected in such trying times.