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Politicians Fiddle While Fiscal Crisis Looms ^ | February 22, 2012 | John Stossel

Posted on 02/22/2012 4:07:08 AM PST by Kaslin

Imagine this family budget:

Last year, you earned $24,700. But you spent $37,900, incurring $13,300 in debt, and you were already $153,500 in debt.

So you say, "I promise I'll spend $300 less this year!"

Anyone can see that your cutback is pathetic and that you need to spend much less.

Yet if you add eight zeroes, that's America's budget.

The president says again that he will cut spending -- but don't be fooled. He wants to spend more on some items, those he euphemistically calls "invest(ment) in the things that will help grow our economy." (As though politicians can know what a free market would reveal.)

He says he wants to reduce the deficit by raising taxes on the rich -- but again, don't be fooled. Even if he took every penny over $1 million from the rich, it would reduce the deficit by only $616 billion.

The politicians are spending us into oblivion. But I can't blame only them. The American people are complacent. We like the goodies. We think we're getting something for nothing. We are like alcoholics who know we have a problem but just can't resist one last fix. One more infrastructure bill or jobs plan will jumpstart the economy. Then we'll kick our spending addiction once and for all.

But we don't stop spending. Almost all budget categories grow, even when adjusted for inflation. This is a break with most of America's history. When the economy grew most dramatically, government was less than 5 percent of gross domestic product. Today, it's well over 20 percent.

Since Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty began in the late 1960s, government spending has gone up relentlessly. This is just not sustainable. So what do we do? We must cut. But I fear Americans aren't up for that. People on the street told me that the budget is out of control. But when I then asked them, "What would you cut?" most just stared ahead.

But there's plenty to cut. We can easily cut things like foreign aid, NPR, Amtrak and post office subsidies, and the war on drugs. But we should not pretend that such cuts would be enough to stop the coming crisis. They're not. Killing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and a hundred other subsidy programs would help more. But that still makes only a dent in the deficit.

To really save America, we need to cut whole departments: Commerce, Energy, Education, Agriculture, Labor. We don't need them.

Commerce just happens. It doesn't need an expensive Cabinet department that hands out money to politically connected businesses.

The same is true for the Energy and Agriculture departments. Some states now have more agriculture bureaucrats than farmers!

Education is not a federal responsibility. Federal spending of $106 billion a year has not raised test scores one bit.

Now I've cut $329 billion. It's still not enough.

The military is about a fifth of the budget. I want to support our troops, but we could do that and save money if the administration would shrink the military's mission to what it is supposed to be: protecting us from external threats. We cannot put America on a road to solvency without cutting military spending, too.

Of course, what will really bankrupt America are entitlements, especially Medicare. That's the big one.

Why even call it an entitlement? Are we entitled to the money? People think we are, but the money is taken from the taxpayers -- by force. The program is totally unsustainable. We now live so long that most of us get back about three times what we paid into these programs.

So we have to raise the retirement age, maybe index it to life spans, and turn Medicare into an insurance plan that sustains itself. That will mean that if I want the latest in high-end medicine, I have to pay for it myself.

We're on the way to becoming Greece -- while our "leaders" stand and watch. A catastrophe is happening before our eyes, but the politicians won't act to avert it. How did they ever end up with enough power to sink our society?

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: economy; financialcrisis

1 posted on 02/22/2012 4:07:12 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Unfunded liabilities are currently at 1-million per tax payer. The Obama Deficit in action.

Timothy Geitner doesn’t have a plan and doesn’t even promise to work on one. But he doesn’t like Paul Ryan’s, you know.

2 posted on 02/22/2012 4:12:42 AM PST by CaspersGh0sts
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To: CaspersGh0sts

Last week, Mark Steyn cited an obscure clause in a 500 page appendix to a study done by the CBO. In short, our economy blows up in fifteen years.

Yesterday, Zero Hedge reported that another one percent was added to the GDP/DEBT ratio. In 21 days our national debt went from 100% to 101% of GDP.

3 posted on 02/22/2012 4:15:12 AM PST by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves.)
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To: Kaslin

Kaslin this is in no way directed at you. I am so tired of articles that beginning with that math. Not because of the math but because there have been thousand like them and apparently nobody but nobody capable of doing anything about seems to pay attention.
Our budget is like a 7 year old going into school beat up daily and the teacher never paying any mind.

4 posted on 02/22/2012 4:20:56 AM PST by wiggen (The teacher card. When the racism card just won't work.)
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To: CaspersGh0sts

Geitner cannot even complete his taxes correctly, even with Turbotax.

5 posted on 02/22/2012 4:53:15 AM PST by The_Media_never_lie
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To: wiggen; Kaslin

problem with articles like these.
We all see the train wreck coming - but what to do.
If I posted right now what I am thinking— I would be suspended, MODS would have to suspend my account.

The pols know what is coming or else they believe they can kick can down the road for another election cycle.

Hello the time for kicking the can has past, we have passed the point of no return, the takers are about to realize that the producers can not produce enough to maintain their lifestyle.

The Pols realize this as well and are attempting to create a class warfare to mask their incompetence.

The producers have had enough and are about to inform the takers that the treasury is empty.

The Pols in all parties think the electorate are stupid— HELLO the internet allows those who are interested to see the disconnect.

Pols hate inforamation being disseminated to the masses, therefore shutdown the conduits.

Problems is that there are too many conduits.
Pols are like cock roaches when exposed to light or truth they scatter for the dark recesses.

What they fail to realize is that the producers can not support the takers anymore.

The problem the Pols have is that the producers are slow to anger, where as the takers are swift to anger.
Witness the OWS.
Pols will be lucky when the largess runs out that they are not hanging from light poles.

As a producer I can say I have had enough, I am tired of paying for welfare mommas, I am tired of paying for others bad decisions.
I am not tired of paying for unemployment benefits of people who have payed into system for 20 yrs or more

I am tired of supporting people that have never payed into system but are gaming system with Pols support.

Kaslin and Wiggen my rant is not directed at you, but the stupidity, ignorance of those who claim to be our leaders-what A pathetic bunch.

I only wish that one would have the BRASS BALLS to call the situation as it is and offer a solution.

A cry going forth- ask not what I can do for mankind, what can I do for myself so as not o be a burden to my fellow citizens.

6 posted on 02/22/2012 4:58:27 AM PST by Nailbiter
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7 posted on 02/22/2012 5:01:46 AM PST by deoetdoctrinae (Gun-free zones are playgrounds for felons)
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To: deoetdoctrinae

“We’re on the way to becoming Greece — while our “leaders” stand and watch”

Well, no John. They are not “standing and watching.” What they are doing is banking and campaigning for more money.

I think it was Einstein who said, “the same people who created the problem shouldn’t be the ones to fix it.”

Until we get rid of the political class and media elites, this problem will never be resolved.

8 posted on 02/22/2012 5:30:50 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (Most Conservative in the Primary, the Republican Nominee in the General.)
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To: Kaslin

The notion of “cutting the budget” is the root of the problem.

Absent war, project revenues - spend that. If we continue to let those in power promise peace, security, and a good life to everyone, the day will come when the government will not be able to print “money” fast enough to pay its debts.

9 posted on 02/22/2012 5:37:28 AM PST by Jack of all Trades (Hold your face to the light, even though for the moment you do not see.)
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To: Kaslin

Ya gotta love Stossel!!

10 posted on 02/22/2012 5:38:07 AM PST by harpu ( "'s better to be hated for who you are than loved for someone you're not!")
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To: Kaslin
Imagine this family budget:

Last year, you earned $24,700. But you spent $37,900, incurring $13,300 in debt, and you were already $153,500 in debt.

[insert ex-wife joke here]

11 posted on 02/22/2012 9:34:42 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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