The experts paint an alarming picture of America’s financial situation. Unless “hard choices” are made, they tell us, the country’s economic system will collapse. The dollar will be worthless, and U.S. bonds will have no takers. The deficit must be curbed, the national debt tamed – or else!
And looking at the figures, I can see why they are panicking. The national debt is about $13.7 trillion as I write this and is increasing at more than $4 billion a day.
Of course, about a quarter of the “debt” is owed by the government to the government, so things might not be as gloomy as they seem. But even so, the situation is unsustainable. Something must be done. The government is borrowing billions to pay the interest on the money it owes, and that’s never a good idea.
With the economy in such bad shape, you would think there’s a shortage of money in the U.S.
But apparently not.
In the recent election campaign, for example, money flooded the country.
According to Monday’s Washington Post:
The record-breaking campaign showered billions of dollars on a broad array of companies, including broadcast conglomerates, polling firms and small-town restaurants, according to a Washington Post analysis of expenditure reports. Candidates spent at least $50 million on catering and liquor, $3.2 million at country clubs and golf courses, and $500,000 on pizza, coffee and doughnuts.
The spending came at a fortunate time for many businesses struggling with tepid growth and a national unemployment rate stuck near 10 percent. Experts predict that total spending for the congressional midterms will approach $4 billion, putting it on par with the $3 billion ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program in 2009 aimed at boosting auto sales.”
Democratic campaigns spent $24,000 at Starbucks, Republicans $17,000. And gym rats and personal trainers, be of good cheer. The Democratic National Committee spent $41,000 for memberships at a Results gym about seven blocks from its Washington headquarters…
I understand that when all the tabs are added up, campaign bills will top $4 billion – the most money ever spent on an election in America.
Where did all this money come from?
According to a recent study, the richest 20 percent of Americans own 85 percent of the country’s wealth, while the poorest 40 percent own nothing.
So there is no shortage of well-heeled U.S. citizens – and corporations.
You would think that with all this money floating about, the government could figure out how to get some of it to keep the country from going bankrupt.
What the new Republican majority in Congress is proposing is another tax break for the richest Americans. That would increase the deficit by trillions and send the national debt into overdrive.
Unless, of course, they cut back drastically on such programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, veterans’ benefits, food stamps, child welfare, and so on.
Trillions of dollars are going to maintain redundant military posts around the world, and to destroy and rebuild faraway countries like Iraq and Afghanistan…
Hedge fund managers and other financial whiz kids are raking in millions in bonuses, as small businesses are starved of working capital…
And U.S. corporations and the super-rich shelter their profits in Swiss banks and offshore tax havens.
Apparently this is OK with the majority of Americans. That’s what they voted for on November 2.