I doubt many people would disagree that the last five years have been filled with a great deal of changes. Some will argue these changes have been for the better, others will argue the opposite. There is one thing, however, that simply isn’t debatable any longer, and that is that our national debt isn’t sustainable without putting the economic well-being of future generations in considerable jeopardy.
While the 17 trillion dollar figure (and rising at the astonishing rate of $8-10 thousand dollars per second!) is truly staggering—and simply unfathomable to most–it appears that very few are willing even to attempt to address the issue, for fear of political repercussions, real or imagined. The fact that inflation today is “tame,” due strictly to the way it’s measured today, only serves to allow the chattering class to boast it’s “under control.” The simple fact of the matter is that, if inflation were measured in the same manner as it was in the late 70’s, it would be higher today than it was then (12% annually).
The manner in which the Federal Reserve is using the quantitative easing, pumping money into the government coffers, and keeping interest rates artificially low for the banks, further masks the real problem. We all know–as does Wall Street–that this particular “gravy train” will have to end at some point. That’s the point where the economic “house of cards” will collapse. And while the rich will be able to shelter their assets for the most part, the poor and middle class will feel the full brunt of the damage.
What I am suggesting is that, while we’re doing all of the extraordinary things that we are to keep the economy afloat, we must put the federal government’s role in our daily lives under the microscope. is to do a very careful examination of the Federal Government and the role it plays in our everyday life with a microscope. I’m not suggesting a “meat cleaver” approach, but a reasoned and honest assessment that considers the needs of the country as a whole, one that results in real, realistic, and sustainable reform.
To be frank, I’d like to see the Affordable Care Act repealed in its entirety, but that’s not going to happen with the current federal government. However, a delay of the individual mandate coinciding with the extension of the employer mandate is neither unreasonable nor unwise. We need to face the fact that the program simply is not ready for prime time. The question is, why are some so afraid that if it isn’t implemented in its current, flawed state, that it won’t be implemented at all? After all, President Obama isn’t going to sign a bill eradicating it, nor does Congress have the votes to override a veto. Given the demonstrated failings of the program, it simply makes no sense not to delay its implementation.
We all agree that there should be a safety net for the folks in this country who truly need it, and that agreement generally stretches across party lines. But in all honesty, why do we need fifty-seven different programs for food stamps? That plethora of programs may keep members of the federal bureaucracy in work, but, honestly, wouldn’t it be better to consolidate those programs and spend the money saved on other programs that might actually help those in need, rather than on still more paper-shufflers? Those workers would, of necessity, be inconvenienced, but with so little concern for the private sector in evidence, why should federal workers be exempt from the policy decisions that affect everyone else? When government workers, including elected representatives, must live with the effects of government’s policies, it may well spur the bipartisan cooperation that everyone claims to want.
Our country has become so polarized over the last forty years that it’s almost unrecognizable, and both major political parties are to blame for that. This forum is representative of that polarization. It’s collapsed into petty talking points, poll-driven, hard line partisanship, a virtual slugfest of personal attacks in which anything of real import has long since faded away to unimportance, and real, meaningful debate is a thing of the past. Sounds an awful lot like DC, and the country at large, doesn’t it?
I’m as guilty as the next guy in many ways, but I’d like to see the situation change. We may not reach agreement on everything, but surely we can find some common ground, things upon which all can agree. Will that influence those in DC? Not unless we demand that they listen, and that will require all of us, on both sides, because the bottom line is that our country is broken (and broke). We can choose to work together to fix the problems an give future generations a real chance at a brighter future, or we can choose to pursue our own selfish desires and doom them to misery. Whichever course we choose, there’s some tough sledding ahead but how tough it is depends solely on the decisions we—you and I—make today.
I could include all sorts of links that support what I’ve said, but I have to say that, simply put, this site has reached such a low that it simply isn’t worth the effort. It’s my hope that can change, both here and in the country as a whole.