Taxes, and the National Budget/Debt

Taxes, and the National Budget/Debt

Alright, it’s time for the tough conversation. Taxes, Expenditures, and the Federal Debt (don’t worry Texas, I’m not dyslexic – I did mean ‘taxes,’ not you guys).

We are currently $20 Trillion in debt, as a nation. That number is so big, it’s legitimately difficult to truly wrap your mind around. For comparison, the average person can count from 1 to 310,000,000 over the course of their entire life (assuming you were able to speak and count fluently from the moment of birth, and died at the age of 75). So, in order to count as high as the current National Debt, you would need 64,516 lifetimes to do it. Or 1,492 times the number of years that the universe has been in existence.

That’s … a really big number. And it’s growing. At a current rate of $440 Billion per year. Now, don’t have a heart attack – yearly deficits for a country of the size and wealth as ours will typically range in the Billions. And that would normally be ok – IF we weren’t already in debt waaay above our ability to pay it off within a few years.

Here’s the very sobering, very ugly truth: at $20 Trillion in debt, we are already having to borrow money every year, just to pay the interestJUST the interest – on the money we’ve already borrowed. Let that sink in for a second. We’re having to borrow money just to keep from defaulting on the loans of the money we’ve already borrowed (and spent). None of that is actually going to paying off the principle on the actual debt itself. That’s like opening a new credit card, just to pay the minimum payments on the nine credit cards you’ve already maxed out. And the entire amount of debt you owe is still sitting there, untouched, building up more debt.

This has gone FAR beyond the point were we can just say – “ok, time to stop spending money we don’t have, and tighten up the belt, so we can pay it off.” ..It’s damn-near too late for that. 15 years ago, we would have been ok, within 5-6 years. But now… No sir. We’ve got serious problems.

Let me tell you what happens in our not-so-distant future, if we FAIL to start paying down our National Debt and get it to a more manageable level. One of three things will happen.

1.) The U.S. cannot keep up with the interest that is owed on the money we’ve already borrowed, and the U.S. Treasury will default on it’s loans, and then the credit rating of the sovereign U.S. Government will tank. When that happens, our entire economy will disintegrate (and likely the world’s economy will fall apart too, since the world currently runs on $USD). Which means we’re all screwed. This is the least-likely scenario, because it can be delayed by options 2 and 3, as listed below.

2.) The U.S. cannot keep up with the interest on our debt, and – rather than letting the economy immediately fall apart, as in Example 1 – we choose instead to print more money, so we can use it to pay the interest on our debt.. This leads quickly to hyper-inflation, and everyone’s money becomes worthless. Which means we have to print even MORE money to keep pace with the plummeting value of the U.S. Dollar, so that we can continue to pay the interest on our debt. Which means our money becomes even MORE worthless. Inevitably, our economy will still disintegrate anyway. This scenario will just buy us a few extra years of time, before that happens. And the recovery will take longer (several decades).

3.) The final scenario (which is the most likely of the three) is: the U.S. cannot keep up with the interest on our debt, and – rather than printing more money, as in example 2 – the rest of the world simply cuts us off from borrowing any additional money from them, because at that point it’s become obvious that we cannot pay our bills. In this scenario, our economy experiences an extended period of dramatic deflation, everyone loses their jobs because nobody can afford to hire anyone, and the U.S. Dollar ceases (probably forever) to be the standard currency of trade around the world, and is most likely replaced by the Chinese Yuan. At which point, we’ll be at the mercy of their economy (or that of whoever’s currency happens to take over), rather than the other way around. This will figuratively enslave us, economically.

Now, let me put that further into perspective: our current government, being already $20 Trillion in debt, has just added $1.4 Trillion to our deficit, just by passing the “tax cuts” last December. Just two months ago. Make no mistake – those tax cuts benefited ONLY the super-rich and mega-corporations. If you’re middle-class, you will see an average savings of ~$50 per year for the next couple of years. “whoopeeeie…” And then your taxes are going to jump up higher than they already are now, and you’ll have no more line-item deductions to help lower your tax burden.

Yes, that’s correct. You’re going to get REAMED by the Tax-man, in a few years. Don’t believe me? Wait a year, or maybe three at most. At your peril. Or, do the math now, and realize you need to do something before it’s too late. Your choice.

Either way, you’re still screwed. Because our sorely in-debt government hasn’t JUST borrowed another $1.4 Trillion to literally hand it over to the super-wealthy in tax-cuts – they’ve also passed a spending bill yesterday that adds another $500 Billion to the National Debt, on top of that (having to borrow more money to pay the interest on the money we’ve already borrowed). AND the President has called for a massive spending increase on “national defense,” all while cutting numerous government agencies (which protect the public, and our foreign interests) and also our social programs – to the bone.

And – laughably – the President wants to hold a military parade, on top of all that… A MILITARY PARADE..!! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Because that’s about $20 Million wasted on … what?? What do we really gain from a friggin parade!? We’re already in debt over our eyeballs, with no plan to pull ourselves out of this mess, and only a plan to spend yet more money that we don’t have, and … a parade!? Somebody in Washington has a pretty damn dark sense of humor. Or, is just straight-up delusional.

Here are the facts, and here is what we need to do: we need to wake up to the bleakness of our situation. We need to recognize that certain critical government agencies need to be funded, but that we need to get a little wiser as to the prospects of our future, and how we spend our national treasury. We need to focus on maintaining the services that pay for themselves, and we need to maintain some services that don’t pay for themselves directly but that contribute directly to our national and economic well-being. And we need to recognize that some of our national expenses just are not necessary.

I know this will probably piss some people off – namely Conservatives – but, frankly I don’t give a good-goddamn. It needs to be said. Sometimes the truth hurts. That doesn’t make it any less necessary to speak it. Take for instance the military. I am a Veteran. And I’m proud of both my service, and of the military in general. And I believe whole-heartedly in a strong national defense. But – there’s a sensible limit. Where does the “we’re objectively safe” begin? 10% of the national budget? 30%? 90%? (…obviously not 90% – that’d be beyond ridiculous, but – you get my point).

Here’s the thing – our military is already the most powerful the world has EVER known. We control 6,800 nuclear weapons – be it via bombs, ICBMs, or missiles launched from submarines. Ie, the “Nuclear Triad.” In any case, that’s enough to render the world completely sterile of all life, several times over. We also spend more on our military than the next 10-ranked military powers, COMBINED (how the hell is another nation gonna put up a realistic challenge to that..??). Our Navy is stronger than the next 3 biggest navies combined, and has enough super-carrier groups that – if we needed to raze an entire nation to the ground, we could do so just by using the firepower of our naval fleets alone – point is, we already have an OVERWHELMING advantage, militarily.

Oh, and – do you know what else our Navy is doing? Building more nuclear-powered submarines. Do you know how many we already have? Thirty-two. In the entire world’s nations, only North Korea has more subs than we do, and the rest of North Korea’s Navy is a joke compared to ours – in both numbers, and in strength and firepower. Each of those submarines costs ~$2 Billion dollars. And we have seven more under construction right now. ….. WHY!??

It gets better – (or worse, if you’re not one for sardonic hyperbole)

We also already have over a thousand M1A1 Abrams tanks (the badass, take-no-crap, undisputed King-of-the-battlefield kind – the kind whose armor and top speed is still classified, 30 years after they were designed, are still unmatched around the world,  and are still state-of-the-art). Do you know what all of those extra thousand+ M1A1 tanks are doing? They’re rotting in a parking lot. Because the military doesn’t have the personnel (or the need) to put men in them. And yet every year, our government makes more of them. Why??

And then there’s the F-35 Fighter Jet program. $1.5 Trillion dollars spent, and yet they still have trouble just taking off from a runway, without crashing or blowing up. And yet we still supposedly don’t have enough money to give our Soldiers a raise so they can live a comfortable middle-class lifestyle?? (let’s face it – they get paid crap for putting their lives on the line for us..)

Then we have the issue of rounding up illegal immigrants? You know how much money that costs?? Do you know how much cheaper it’d be to just have about a thousand Federal Agents on payroll, and have them actually enforce the laws that are already in place, and round up the illegal employers who’re hiring the immigrants, instead? And then if we did that, the source of the problem – the illegal jobs – would be solved, and the problem itself would dry up. Problem-friggin-Solved.

And then of course there’s The Wall. Look, I’m not going to comment too much on the wall, because I know a lot of you like the idea. I’m not a fool. But I AM a student of history – all the way from the Neolithic Age through present day – and thoroughly versed in pretty much all the Western World’s history, and a good bit of China’s history too. And through all of that studying, I have learned one thing: walls have never once – not in all of recorded history – been totally successful in doing what they are inherently meant to do – which is: keep people out. It’s never been the wall that matters. It’s always been about the number of people guarding it. And the effectiveness of people guarding a border is mostly independent of whether a wall is present or not. So … oh my god, is that a stereotypical example of spending money we don’t have!

And then there’s industry subsidies. These haven’t been re-vamped or adjusted since the 1950s. It’s a BIT out of date. We still pay the Oil & Gas Industry gob-tons of taxpayer-funded subsidies, when they are laying workers off all the time, and still making record profits, in the meantime. That needs to be adjusted to something resembling the modern Oil & Gas market. Then there are the farm subsidies that likewise haven’t been adjusted in 70 years, which are responsible for farmers producing only the same non-sustainable crops, every single season (because they are literally paid to do that, instead of diversifying their crops – it’s not that they don’t want to diversify – most of them do). This causes them to have to fertilize more often (and spend money on that), and the waste and the runoff hurts our farmlands and tributaries, to boot. Which of course we have to spend MORE money trying to prevent.

…Do you see what I mean!?? And yet our national infrastructure is falling apart, and the politicians have the balls to tease at the idea of fixing it.. They have NO idea of what they’re getting into, and they’ve already spent the money needed to actually fix it, three-times over, on crap that we don’t need!

– It’s not that we don’t have the money to fully fund ourselves, and still keep our military nice and strong, AND start paying down our National Debt at the same time – it’s that we don’t hold our politicians accountable to actually doing that. The amount of federal waste is gut-churning.

And yet we STILL have Big Party politicians (I’m facing off against one in my district now) who insist that they’re supposedly “fiscally responsible,” and all-the-while promising their district *extra* money through pork-barrel funding for local projects, because they think the temporary minor boost in federal spending will net a couple hundred jobs, and thus earn them ‘kudo points’ to get elected. Horse-shit. Don’t buy that snake-oil.

They have no idea the meaning of “responsibility.” Sad as it is to say it, the conversation we really need to be having right now is how much we need to realistically raise our taxes, to make sure we don’t all go broke in 10 years. Yeah – I said it. We need to seriously look at the prospect of having to raise our taxes! The truth may not be pleasant, but – like any credit card debt, we have to eventually pay for all we’ve spent! Otherwise, what the hell are we doing, besides hiding our heads in the sand like a bunch of dumb animals, fervently hoping that “the good old days” that we’re living in now somehow – by some unknown and unlikely miracle – won’t disappear on us, like a fart in the breeze!

So I’m gonna go ahead and say it – Screw those guys. They need to own up to the fact that WE DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO SPEND. And we sure as hell don’t have the money to re-direct from other government funds, either – like the poor Social Security treasury, which is already failing us now only because various Congressmens’ pork-barrel projects keep sucking all the money out of it – to fund their little “vote-for-me” projects.

They disgust me. The fact that the public is still somehow not seriously scared out of their wits of the dire situation we’re in, disgusts me. And it keeps me up at night, sometimes. I’m honestly worried about our future. I’ve started to save for my own retirement (and I’m only 35), not by traditional investing in 401k, or an IRA, or in stocks, or bonds, or mutual funds, but in buying gold and silver bullion, because I am legitimately concerned that the U.S. Dollar will  lose most of it’s value in the next 10 years, because we’re running this country like a bunch of spoiled valley-girls with their daddy’s credit card.

But I’m going to try. I’m not giving up hope yet. I’m going to try to get the public to see the light, and do what I can to curb the government’s spending habits. It’s not too late yet. Lord knows, even in the best-case-scenario, we’re still gonna have to hurt for a while because of the damage that’s already been done, but – it’s not too late to turn this ship around before it capsizes, and takes us all down with it. We’ve gotta try..

Comments (4)

It's nice to hear some sense being made from a candidate. I never understand why they keep saying we need to boost defense spending. Our only realistic threat is North Korea. At this point, when major conflict could mean all out destruction of much of the planet, we really need to focus on (more affordable) diplomacy. And taxes do need to go up. I don't care if I'm saving money this year if it's all gonna be worthless in 10.

The unfortunate truth is: political favors, and lobbying money. Eisenhower himself warned the public about the danger of letting the Military Industrial Complex run too long without being reigned in, in his farewell speech.

But – money corrupts, and politicians DO love money.. So they say whatever they're told to say by Big-Money interests.

I am a US Army veteran and police officer of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department Who has spent 14 years patrolling our capital’s worst neighborhoods. Please look at the Falconist Party locatedYou at http://Falconistparty.us . You can find us on Facebook too! Our party combines the ideas of the right, left, center and elsewhere in such a way to take America and the world up. If you like what you see then we hope you join us and run under our banner. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely

Kyle Uskievich

Leader & President-Falconist Party

Mr. Kyle – first off, thanks for commenting!

I just went through your website, and – you Falconists are an ambitious lot! For the most part, I really liked what I saw. With some notable exceptions.

For instance, I love your idea of instituting a U.S. Green Corps, and I'm also keen (but not quite sold) on Universal Military Training and required service. I'd never considered the former (and it's worth adopting into my own planks), but I have thought about the UMS. Sort of. Mine is a bit tamer than yours – basically it'd be a voluntary citizen's militia, under the care and supervision of the States' National Guards, through which they would receive training, and be issued weapons. Though I'm not 100% sold on the idea of letting them take their weapons home – it works for Switzerland and Israel, but – those are different societies. I think we need to resolve some of our own social tensions over here before that could be fully practicable. Hence the reason I'm choosing not to include it in the campaign.

I do love the fact that you're pro-Healthcare and Education, and that is should be for citizens only!

Economic Refugee Centers are an interesting concept too, and I could see how that would tie together as branches of some of your other planks, namely the Green Corps. And even the U.S. Public Service Academy (which I thought was a wonderful idea, in its own right) would tie in with that. I may actually adopt these!

And – the idea of the absorption of other nations (particularly in the American Continents) – I've had that idea before too, but I honestly never thought it'd take traction. I'm pretty happy that I'm not the only one that's thought of it!

Now – with the Good critiques must also come the Bad –

I think several of your planks are a little unrealistic. Not that they are bad ideas per se – the majority of them are wonderful – just not practicable for the foreseeable future. Like establishing low-orbit colonies and moon-bases. I also REALLY want to see this happen, but that's the SciFi nerd in me talking. The truth is, we're not even remotely close to being able to do this. And it has less to do with the technology involved than it does with the sheer cost of paying for it. Maybe let's just start with a space elevator, when we can afford it. You already have on your agenda completely paying off the national debt (which I support thoroughly, and believe can be done, but only with a lot of trouble, time, and sacrifice) as well as quite a lot of public works programs. And those are also very noble, but they're also (each one) extremely expensive. You simply can't pay for ALL of that. Not AND pay off the national debt, AND expand the military into unilateral worldwide action, AND go to a Flat-tax (which is not sufficient for increasing tax revenue, even at our current spending levels), AND begin colonizing the oceans.

You know the expression: "you can have something quick, cheap, and of high quality, but you can't have all three; pick two." Well, it kind of applies here. We have to prioritize.

Also, I think you seriously need to reconsider the idea of relocating inner city residents to a new area while reconstructing their inner city neighborhoods for them. Not only is this monumentally expensive because you're effectively building TWO large-scale communities at the same time (in dozens of major cities), but – you've also got to consider the human and emotional elements involved here – it would almost certainly be perceived as the forced-"uprooting" of entire groups of people. And it wasn't that long ago that we were doing that same thing to Native Americans (ie, the Trail of Tears), and African Americans via the cross-Atlantic slave trade. Now, I *know* those are not what you had in mind, but.. think about it.. You're unilaterally telling people who have no choice in the matter "hey, we'll relocate you and make your lives better for you." They are NOT going to take kindly to that – AT ALL. If you want to help them, then help THEM rebuild THEIR OWN communities. That, they'll appreciate. They'll work with you, on that. In short, your heart may be in the right place, but your plan for implementation is fundamentally badly-flawed.

Finally, there are a couple of your planks that I simply cannot get behind. Abolishing abortion. No way, man. You may call that a moral issue, but there is nothing more *immoral* than legislating what rights women (or any sub-groups) have over themselves. And human sexuality and reproductive autonomy is among the most sacred and personal of ALL basic rights. You don't (and should never) have that level of authority over other people. Same goes with your stance on gay marriage. In your zeal to protect 'the sanctity of' marriage, you're failing to appreciate that – fundamentally – marriage is about love and life-long commitment. Why bring "penis-in-vagina" into it? By trying to force marriage to be purely the domain of the heterosexual, you're actually cheapening what "marriage" means. Be more inclusive! After all, what difference does it make to you, if two men or two women want to swear oaths of faithfulness to one another? Love cannot pose a threat to the 'moral fabric' of society – love *IS* the moral fabric!

And your "Freedom Legions" !!? – I'm willing to support requiring mandatory military service of all citizens, but – the idea of forcing military service on arrested illegal immigrants – is … just … morally … WRONG. Deporting them – that's fine! But – Press-ganging them as a form of legal punishment?? That's as bad as slavery!

For the record, you seriously need to consider greatly tuning down your world-militarism in general. It's untenable and impractical, in that our military is already several-times-over the most powerful in the world. It's also our Military Industrial Complex that's largely responsible for having bankrupted our country in the first place. And on a moral level, it's not our place to say how the rest of the world chooses to live. They must represent themselves. They are all sovereign peoples, just like we are. If you want to truly spread our democracy and our way of life, then – make the voluntary absorption of other countries as new U.S. States your central tenet. THAT is a great and noble idea! If the rest of the world wants to join us – then we should let them. But in the words of the great Indian leader Asoka: "There is no way to peace; peace IS the way." We CANNOT force it down their throats. Or else WE become "the bad guys."

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