Monday, March 30, 2015

Talking the long view on the national debt

The average age that a woman first gives childbirth is about 25 years. That means that if we pay down only $180B (1%) a year the national debt will last to our grandchildren's grandchildren.

Yet, as crazy as this sounds, it would it take a miracle to convince anyone - ANYONE - in Congress to make it happen. After all, our current obligations already carry $435B a year in interest. That means we'd have to dedicate about $615 billion dollars towards the debt, and not accumulate any more.

Federal revenues in 2014 were about $3 trillion. That would leave about $2.4 trillion for all of the rest of the spending, but we spent $3.5 trillion! So not only do we have to dedicate more money toward the debt, we have to cut a LOT more out of our spending.

Exactly which politician is going to cut $680 billion dollars, and out of which programs? Are we going to end medicare or social security? Because that is what it would take. Is the Republican party going to do that? Are the Democrats?

No. We have no one, anywhere with the willingness to do what it takes. Even if we did, even if they were in elected office, they wouldn't be able to overcome the demagoguery that exists. If it were possible to overcome this, if it were possible to convince 100 years of legislators and citizens that they had to pay off the debt for their great-great-great-great-great (that's right, 5 greats) grandchildren, we still have to contend with the growing population. Some estimates put us at close to 600 million by 2100, fifteen years before the debt would be paid off.

Every one of those additional 285 million people would need to be willing to go without any government handouts. And if the trend in takers continues as it is, we'll be suffering 300 million loafers in this country. We'll have to somehow deal with them too. But we won't. We've become a nation of children, petulant, demanding children, unwilling to detach from the teat of mommy.

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