“We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.” ~Ronald Reagan, Address to National Association of Realtors, March 28, 1982
By Alden L. Benton
Sustainable is the new buzzword everyone carelessly throws about in conversations on myriad topics.
The dictionary definition, however, is clear. To be sustainable means a system that maintains its own viability by using techniques that allow for continual reuse or a process that can be maintained, or kept going, indefinitely.
For at least the past six months, politicians and talking heads of every denomination and persuasion have been bemoaning the alleged draconian impact of cutting a mere $85 billion (they originally promised to cut $109 billion) from the $3.796 trillion 2012 federal budget, you would think, as my Dad used to say, money simply grew on trees.
If money did actually grow on trees, then the tax-and-spend politicians on both sides of the aisle could fully fund all of their hair-brained Utopian schemes because the supply of money would then be a sustainable resource.
Unfortunately, there is no golden goose, magic beans, or a Genie in a bottle to produce an infinite supply of money to individuals, or to the government.
Our political leaders have failed. The leadership of both parties colludes to maintain their personal power at our expense. At best, they have been misguided and deluded. At worst, they have perpetrated agendas designed to weaken and diminish us as a nation. You know who they are, just read the news.
Yesterday (February 19), CNS News reported President Obama’s fiscal delusions. The president, according to CNS News, has added a record $5.9 trillion to the debt while claiming to have cut the federal deficit by $2.5 trillion. According to CNS News,
“In fiscal 2008, the federal deficit was $454.8 billion. In fiscal 2012, it was $1.2967 trillion. By this measure, President Obama did not reduce federal deficits by $2.5 trillion. He increased the annual deficit by $841.9 billion.”
The numbers don’t add up and the smoke and mirror illusions of fiscal responsibility and solvency continue.
As part of the 2011 Debt Ceiling deal, Congress gave the president authority to borrow and additional $2.4 trillion in exchange for $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years. There have been no cuts, and Obama has run the federal credit card to its limit, reaching the debt ceiling again on December 31, 2012.
The farther we go, the behinder we get.
The so-called sequester amounts to lip service when the federal budget deficit in fiscal year 2012 was $1.327 trillion, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Table S-1 — Budget Totals.
In fact, the president’s own budget projections show deficit spending every year through 2022 despite projecting increased revenue every year. The total federal deficit by 2022 will be $6.684 trillion and will represent 3.3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). The same projections show the national debt increasing every year.
Today (February 20), Breitbart.com reports that a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released in January concludes that President Obama’s policies are not sustainable. According to the article,
“For two months, reporters and lawmakers have ignored a devastating report from the federal government itself, which warns that the nation’s current fiscal policy will lead to economic collapse.
“The Government Accountability Office (GAO) — the personal auditor of President Obama and the federal government — released its assessment of the federal government on January 17, 2013. The report’s findings illuminate just how dire America’s spending problem is and, therefore, how little the current cuts debated by Congress do to fix it.”
The GAO is the auditor for the president and the government. Yet, the president doesn’t believe we have a spending problem and Congress rides the same bus — a bus that is headed off the proverbial fiscal cliff. With deficits surpassing $6 trillion over the next 10 years, we will need to borrow more money to pay for that spending. In addition, we must continue paying interest on the money we have already borrowed. The CNS News article continues saying,
“The most devastating part of the report is the fact that the federal government must run surpluses over the next century to keep the same debt-to-GDP ratio it has today. Meanwhile, Congress and President Obama are throwing a fit over the looming sequester — which will cut a mere 1.2 per cent of total deficits (not total debt) over the next ten years — and the Senate has not produced a budget for close to 1,400 days.
“A balanced budget will not be enough to cover the rapid growth of interest payments owed on U.S. national debt in the future. The federal government currently pays $223 billion — roughly $3,000 per taxpayer — in annual interest payments. This number is expected to increase to $857 billion by the end of the decade, a 290 per cent increase.”
For more than 80 years, Congress and presidents from both political parties have been kicking the ticking time bomb down the road to future generations. That is the political definition of sustainability. The reality is that we have reached the end of the road, and the bomb is about to explode.
“We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefiting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development.” ~Ronald Reagan, September 29, 1981
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