Theres plenty wrong with government
If government was the answer, we would all be wealthy. As it turns out, government is the problem.
Is it any wonder that the U.S. credit quality has been lowered. The question is why did it take so long? Crony capitalism, socialism or corruption? When government bodies, regulatory agencies and major financial firms conspire to improve our condition, we all suffer the consequences while they are enriched.
Debt truly has become a four- letter word. Americans realize we haven't been a AAA credit for some time. Our current deficit approaches 100 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP), we borrow 40 percent more than is collected in current revenues with no end in sight, but the real story is that we have a $70 trillion unfunded entitlement liability staring us in the face with no way of paying the bill. The federal government is dysfunctional while the economy struggles and yet most voters cannot even articulate what the issues are, let alone proffer solutions.
What we do know is that our elected officials have lied to the people about the seriousness of this debt problem as both parties pursued a European welfare state agenda. We now see that this agenda is failing miserably in Europe after their populations have become accustomed to being bribed with their own money. Riots in Greece and England erupt as entitlement recipients protest the end of the government's free ride. There exists an entire generation of 'the world owes me a living' socialist mantra.
We are not far removed from this concept in America today. When over half of Americans pay no federal income tax and the top handful of income earners already pay 60 percent of all tax revenues the system, by definition, is broken. Citizens need to have at least some skin in the game to participate in our culture or the riots will be visited upon us. Perhaps not the violence observed elsewhere, but a more significant social and economic event (tax revolt a la 1773?) Not since King George have Americans been so under represented by a pseudo professional political body. Remember, politicians are not given respect, they must earn it!
One party wishes to throw more borrowed dollars away (Keysnian Economics), and the other party suggests an austerity approach which only slows the rate of indebtedness. Neither proposal cuts to the chase of the real underlying issues because to speak of 'sacred cow' programs means a potential end to the great gig politicians have created for themselves. Money, our tax dollars, is truly the mother's milk of politics - sad! Our only salvation is for voters to educate themselves enough to ignore what currently passes for the impassioned press and consider more practical candidates and ideas.
Baby boomers take heed because there are no easy fixes to the problems our elected officials have created in your name. Hyper inflation, currency devaluation, or both perhaps. The cure is likely to affect your golden years in ways you cannot yet imagine. And, when the world finally understands the magnitude of our debt and our government's inability to effectively deal with the debt, the problem will be exacerbated for the foreseeable future.
Noel R. Wolfe is a resident of Lake Oswego.