Fiscal Suicide On The Installment Plan

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Posted: May 10, 2019 10:26 AM
Fiscal Suicide On The Installment Plan

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The great Republican Senator in the 1960s, Everett Dirksen, was credited with saying, “A million here, a million there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.”

Well, with a federal debt today of $22 Trillion, we are now talking real money.

During the Obama years, 1.5 to 2% growth in GDP was about the best we did. In fact, Obama’s economists claimed that growth under 2% should be considered the “new normal.”  As a result, wages stagnated, unemployment climbed, the wealth gap yawned wide, and companies big enough to leave for greener pastures in other countries did, because job killing regulations and high taxes imposed by the federal Government damaged profits.

Now, all that’s changed.  The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates our 1st quarter GDP growth will come in at an annual rate of 3.2%.   Manufacturers are rebuilding and opening new plants across America, the retirement accounts of workers have ballooned by billions, the stock market is reaching new highs, and unemployment is down to 3.6% — lowest it’s been since 1969, Everett Dirksen’s last year in the Senate.

But, we have a problem.  Our government has been spending money it doesn’t have for a long time.   The worst was Obama-Biden who, alone, more than doubled our nation’s debt.  

They funded programs like “the stimulus plan” which ostensibly spent money on shovel-ready infrastructure projects intended to create jobs and stimulate growth.  Forget about it.  With weak oversight, the money disappeared and did nothing.  Even Obama admitted after the fact there were no shovel-ready jobs.   And within 18 months, 22 contractors were found guilty of fraudulent use of stimulus money.

Then there was the Obama-Biden Cash for Clunkers program that was supposed to jack up car buying.  The idea was that the government would purchase our old cars and we’d replace them with new cars and big loans.  The government put out an average $4,000 for each of the 690,000 cars that were sold.  But the auto research firm, edmunds.com, revealed that all but 125,000 of those vehicles would have been traded in even without Cash for Clunkers.  That means the real cost was about $24,000 for each of those 125,000 cars.  Oh, and the impact on domestic auto makers was almost negligible.

You might also remember the alternative energy programs that were supposed to create jobs in manufacturing and installation of energy systems like solar and wind.  Hundreds of millions in loan guarantees were made by the Obama-Biden Administration - most to companies who donated to Obama’s campaign.  A year and half later, many of those companies had closed their business and left taxpayers holding the bag.

And I haven’t even started on the trillions we spend on entitlement programs that are unsustainable.

As I’ve already lamented, our 2019 budget projects a $21.9 trillion debt.  TRILLION! 

When I was a kid, using the word trillion was like talking about aliens landing in Central Park; it was simply unimaginable.  In fact, I doubt anyone could really imagine how much money $1 trillion is.

Think of it this way, 1 million seconds is about 11.5 days, 1 billion seconds is about 32 years, but 1 trillion seconds is equal to 32,000 years.

The other day a horde of Democrats lead by Pelosi and Schumer went to the White House to talk about infrastructure.   When they left the meeting, they talked about spending $2 trillion on it.  Of course, history makes plain that the federal government sucks at estimating costs or sticking to a budget, so you can probably double that number.  

And don’t forget the absurd programs considered infrastructure by Democrats.  Even before he’d stepped off the White House lawn, Chuck Schumer talked about the importance of including “income fairness,” climate change, and a host of other social programs in the bill.

As it stands right now, the federal government will bring in $3.6 trillion in 2019. Pretty good considering all the tax cuts.  But wait, the federal government’s budget is $4.7 trillion.  In other words, our members of Congress are planning for a shortfall of $1.1 trillion.   $1.1 trillion on top of the $22 trillion currently on the federal tab.  

What amazes me is that no one really seems all that concerned.   The socialist Democrats say, “It doesn’t matter, we owe it to ourselves.”  We can just print more money. 

Remember the financial literacy test I suggested should be required for candidates? 

But what about the rest of us who have more than a moldy peach pit for a brain? What do we say about the debt? OK, cut spending. Got it. But who is going to risk their political career to do that? Who has the guts to solve the huge problems we’re creating with Social Security and Medicare?

How can we even take seriously Democrat plans to shove down our throats plans that nationalize health care or usher in a Green New Deal?    And who really wants to suggest our military budget is too high when countries like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea are all trying to prove how powerful they are and how weak we are?

I admit it’s a dilemma.  But if someone doesn’t do something soon, then this wonderful and amazing economic powerhouse that has created more wealth than any other country in history is going to burn to the ground.

To borrow a phrase from Senator Dirksen, we are moving toward “fiscal suicide on the installment plan.”

We should be very worried.  America is in trouble, and we’re running out of time.