One of the things that drove my political inclinations on this election cycle was the runaway spending and how addicted we are to our entitlements and military security.
This doesn’t have anything to do with political ideology, although if you attach yourself too firmly to political ideology, you’re probably not going to like this post.
Of course, the “solutions” on fixing our economic and fiscal crisis are “obvious.”
The left says “increase taxes, cut the military.”
If we raised tax rates on all income brackets to 100% at the federal level, we still wouldn’t have enough money to pay off the debt. Even if our debt were zeroed out today, we can’t afford to live in the PRESENT, as is. Our CURRENT spending is so high, that taxing 100% of the ‘rich’ wouldn’t pay the CURRENT bills.
As for the military? Don’t be simplistic and naive. Why do you think all these European countries have the luxury of trying things like socialized medicine? Why do you think Japan was able to rebuild their economy after being literally nuked?
It’s because the US military was used for their border protection, instead of just our own. The world doesn’t like to admit it, but they rely on the US to be the world’s policemen, and they don’t pay us for it.
Perhaps it is time to retreat into our own borders and let the world descend into utter chaos? You’d rather have that? What effect do you think that would have on our economy?
I don’t advise it – I do think that a slow and wise draw-down on our presence around the world is probably a better alternative (which is why I don’t advise drastic and immediate cuts to military spending).
The right says “cut taxes, cut entitlements and welfare.”
Welfare is nothing, though. We could afford to pay welfare just about everyone – at the current cost levels – and everyone could have all their meals paid for. It wouldn’t cause a burp in government spending.
Look at that graph.
We have three major culprits that are killing us: Military, Social Security, and Medicare/Medicaid.
Look at the government like a business: if you cut SS, you cut revenue, so put that aside. If you cut military too much, you also cut some revenue, but we could spend a lot less and still adequately defend our borders, so that’s on the table. We can cut Medicare/Medicaid, though, because it doesn’t drive revenue for the US, and in tough times, sometimes a businesses benefits need to be cut to make it out.
We get spending under control for a few years, then we get rid of that honking Net Interest part (that was 6% of the bill), and maybe we can look at restoring some of our benefits.
Make no mistake, though – there’s no way to "grow our way out of this," and we can’t simply "increase taxes," either. We need to cut spending.
We want our cake and we want to eat it, too.
Problem is, we can’t afford to do that anymore. It’s time to let someone else be the dominant military and economic player on the world stage. We overplayed our hand – we tried to promote our way of life around the world, but forgot that it costs money to do that. Then we see the utopia these other countries are able to build when they don’t have to fund their own military, and tried to do the same for ourselves.
We can’t do both. We basically need to decide, as a country, if we want global security (and all the economic and liberty that goes along with it), or if we want a nanny state of our own like most other Western nations. You get to pick one, not both, because the next global superpower won’t be, going around “killing people in the name of freedom,” as the peaceniks like to say. They’ll probably be doing it in the name of fascism, communism, statism, theism, or some other -ism that we don’t likely adhere to.
Everyone likes to pretend every issue is cut and dried. “Stop killing people with tanks and jet planes, and then unicorns will fart rainbows and life will be good,” or “Just tax the rich and we can afford free healthcare and doctors,” or “Just lower taxes and the economy will rebound.”
Anyone that has a one sentence solution to all of the problems in the world (or even one problem in the world) hasn’t thought it through.
This is not a cheerful post.
The problem is that most people (in government and outside of it) haven’t even thought through the issue well enough to have a one-sentence solution, let alone a nuanced one. They simply want to keep kicking the can down the road.
That’s untenable though. It will end with our ruin.