Wednesday May 22, 2013
Op Ed: U.S. National Debt
By Henry Clay Ruark for Salem.News.com
Sunset on an American dream?
Photo courtesy: neatorama.cachefly.net
(BEND, Ore.) - Painful choice remains unmistakably, relentlessly, unavoidably our greatest democratic danger NOW --with OR without continuance of our wasting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
National fiscal disaster faces us from every part of ANY rational, reasonable survey of the situation --known for decades and very carefully covered-up, with no visible conscience-pangs whatsoever-- while consciously avoided by every thinking, manipulating politician.
Far too few citizens --even those paying attention -- yet realize the overwhelming catastrophe awaiting our fiscal futures. Far too few understand the crucial difference between the annual-budget deficit” and the national debt. Nor do they know --much less understand why-- the U.S. national yearly budget has been in deficit for THIRTY-ONE of the past THIRTY-FIVE years.
Yet, clearly on public record --albeit carefully non-reported in depth and excruciating detail by the MainStreamMedia--is the frightening fact that we HAD a hefty 'budget surplus' when the Bush cabal arrived at power in Washingon: Clinton reported a surplus of $559 billion at the end of his presidency, based on Congressional accounting rules. (Wikipedia)
Today, lawmakers took to the Senate floor and blasted President Bush’s wasteful spending. To fully illustrate the impact, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), brought up a chart showing the budget plans of President Clinton versus the budget formulated by Bush. He concluded that by squandering Clinton’s government surplus, "Bush has cost the country $7.7 trillion". (Internet video-clip 3/14/08))
There are far too many millions of our fellow Americans blissfully unaware of what that difference between the yearly national budget and the overwhelming national debt IS in ALL truth; and why many canny or crafty politicians --aided and abetted by the MSM-- carefully keep so many Americans in such an obviously dangerous and deceitful MIS-or-UN-informed state.
Each year, Congress and the Executive work out what they will spend that fiscal year --and where the money will come from. That’s the national budget. Each year, for thirty-ONE out of thirty-FIVE since 1970, that fiscal plan has come down to “deficit --defying and denying a balanced budget. So the Treasury borrows the missing monies, from wherever it can be found --OFTEN FROM FOREIGN SOURCES.
For decades Treasury bonds, covering that debt, have been the favorite haven for careful and cautious investors around the world; but that situation, too, is now under desperate change as our U.S. dollar is weakened and becoming dangerously anemic due to free trade, globalization and other totally inexorable economic and business trends.
It is firmly in the public record that deregulation, privatization and globalization built on erroneous free trade concepts, were all initiated in the Reagan-Bush I era, now seen as a preliminary-run for the Bush II cabal-and-debacle clearly responsible for our looming fiscal catastrophes.
WE pay horrendous interest totals for those borrowed dollars, adding inexorably to the billions already accumulated over those thirty-five years. THAT’S the national debt --now at the resounding, remarkable, revolting and frightening total of NINE TRILLION DOLLARS.
Every U.S. citizen deserves to be fully informed about ANY such inescapably deep and desperate personal concern. It’s a simple matter of ethical and moral decision to provide such understandings to all. That deep, desperate personal concern already threatens each of us --AND will present our puzzled, protesting progeny soon with a truly unsustainable situation-- as the Boomer Generation floods every possible facility and agency for its inevitable turn at Social Security AND Medicare AND Medicaid, too --EIGHTY MILLION-deep!
Demonstrably, we face a demographic disaster. This depressive development is already here --and grows worse with every demeaned, devalued dollar we charge off against the multiplying true national debt. Adding to the horrendous hurt arriving thus is the inescapable fact of a new wave of seriously disabled younger war vets -- from our two-at-a-time wasting wars !-- “already demanding expanded, ever-more costly specialized medical and mental care.
BOTH Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are pay as you go programs, designed to fund benefits for participants with incoming taxes taken right off the paycheck for workers now actively producing in whatever way. Both use a trust fund(!) to catch any currently-surplus dollars produced by workers today but not demanded for immediate support of those who are entitled because they, in turn, already paid-in their own FICA-tax dollars-deducted from their active-working/days paychecks.
BUT those dollars do NOT hide away in isolation, in a Treasury vault somewheres, until needed, as the term “trust fund” so deceitfully designates. Every damned dollar is desperately, rapidly, exchanged for piles of paper termed Treasury bonds, representing only a promise to pay --even if backed by the full-force and future responsibility of the U.S. Treasury.
Where once we had more than 40 workers for each and every SS-recipient, now we are already down to TWO, still producing payroll-deducted dollars to do the job; with still-fewer still-active workers set to continue this pay as you go pattern in future years.
Noted as perhaps once the world’s best-possible credit-risk, with the entire U.S. national-assets assurance as foundation and resoundingly full-confidence guarantee, these Treasury bonds still demand cash-in-hand for honest redemption; perhaps sooner rather than later given the overwhelming massive program manipulation now unavoidable as The Boomer Generation arrives, hands-out and demanding their full entitlement.
SO, somehow, government must now provide whatever it takes to make good on those massively-promised entitlements; for millions of solid citizens who paid-in their part, over the years of their own active employment. Most Americans agree they have every right to receive from the nation what they were promised --and for which they have already paid their share --while supporting other elderly Americans already achieving that protected state guaranteed by this proven-practical program, among the strongest-supported in U.S. history.
Comptroller General David Walker, our nation’s chief accountant, states that our current financial path is "unsustainable".
He should know --and so should all U.S. fiscal and other agency officials-- surely up and surely including President Bush and Vice President Cheney, well before their White House arrival, on the basis of wellknown and oft-considered facts “on the record” in Congressional hearings starting in the Reagan era.
As Americans learn more about their true financial situation --and their threatening fiscal-future-- you can confidently expect some solid action via people power.
For those lackadaisical or otherwise-occupied (with hands-out for corporate campaign contributions) in our Congress, you can expect some devastating and even-seat/removal changes-soon, too.
Our Founders provided us with solid and workable process for cleaning out and clearing up precisely this kind of political sabotage of our democracy, no matter the reasons-why it occurs. Deliberate denial and deceitful declaration about essential program and fiscal needs should, surely, classify as impeachable offenses.
We should put that process into full-and-rapid motion NOW, while we can still do so, to procure our own best self-protection for these essential programs by initiation of the complex, demanding and difficult choices we MUST now MAKE.
At the height of the American Revolution Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Given the state of current events around the world, these words are just as true today.
What are YOU doing about this intentional, continuing, deeply-documented, desperately-dangerous, democracy-damaging denial of the detailed examination-and-dialog surely now demanded of us by the long-known, rapidly-approaching demise of these decent, effective, well worthwhile, and surely essential programs providing longterm care and support for our elderly citizens?
SOME day --all TOO soon !!-- the support YOU save NOW may become PERSONAL In Deed, just when it is just what YOU Need.
Quotes are combined, shortened, summarized; verbatim and source citations available on request to editor with ID. More than 150 pages of Internet-source citations and some 40 other documenting references were consulted in preparation of this Op Ed --not listed here for space reasons. All sources used are noted-in-full here and available on request to editor with ID.