The Uncheerful Balloon
By Robert Romano
“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon,” A.A. Milne advises. Unless, of course, one is referring to the ballooning deficits in Washington: projected to be an unenviable record $1.75 trillion for 2009.
Unfortunately for American taxpayers, it is a balloon that, when it pops, will leave a nation in financial ruin with a national debt—already a staggering $11 trillion that has grown every single year since 1957—that can never possibly be paid back. No matter how confiscatory the tax burden becomes.
It gets worse. As MSN Money reports in “Is America about to go broke?”, between 2003 and 2007, the unfunded liabilities to Social Security and Medicare grew by over $2 trillion a year, totaling $10.4 trillion. That's just the beginning: “In the 2008 trustees' report, the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare—promises of future retirement and health care benefits—total $42.9 trillion.”
One of the greatest scandals, of course, in history is that these liabilities are not even reported as debt. Nonetheless it is money owed, and when added together with the current national debt, the total owed is $54 trillion. To pay for it all, the nation presently borrows more cash from abroad. The central bank also expands—read: inflates—the monetary base through a variety of mechanisms.
For the time being, these decisions postpone raising taxes.
But eventually the bill will come due. When it does, an entire generation will be bankrupt. And the consequences will be grim.
To make matters even worse, the government is being run by an Administration and Congress that make it abundantly clear that they have positively no intention of reversing the troubling trend. In fact, it forwards a tyrannical agenda of expanding government domination into every facet of life. Which pleases them just fine, thank you.
Already, Barack Obama has proposed growing the role of government beyond its current unsustainable state: expanding socialized health care toward a single payer, government-run system; implementing industry caps on carbon emissions until the oil, gas, and nuclear industries are wrecked; and nationalizing the financial system as government becomes the sole financier of the entire economy.
Sadly, the list goes on as the balloon continues to rise. Education. Environmental regulations. Balancing state budgets. Taking over entire industries(as in replacing the Oldsmobile with the O-mobile). Never before has government grown so quickly. And never before has the occupant of the Oval Office so gleefully seized such unprecedented power.
To add insult to injury, Barack Obama pretends to be fiscally responsible, promising to shave some $100 million from Department budgets. Yes, that's with an “m.” It was really less than .003 percent of the total budget, or as USA Today notes, 3 cents out of every $1,000.
Revealing his $3.6 trillion 2010 budget, he ostentatiously “demands” $17 billion in cuts. That's “real money,” the Administration insists. And to be sure it is, just not enough to save the nation. Or even to put a dent in the Chief Executive's new spending programs.
That's less than a half percent cut, or a .472 percent reduction. “[T]he equivalent of cutting a $100 grocery bill by handing back a 50-cent pack of gum,” USA Today points out.
But it's really worse than that when compared to the total amount owed. It's less than two-tenths a percent of the $11 trillion debt, or a .15 percent reduction. Or three-one-hundredths of a percent of the total $54 trillion owed, or about a .003 percent cut.
While the national media focuses on the false narrative of “when” the recession or unemployment figures will turn around—the wrong questions in the preceding context—American taxpayers are being silently shackled the largest debt in human history. An unpayable debt. A debt that carries a price tag of individual freedom.
Hardly a cheerful thought. And the perpetrators, as Eeyore would say, “They haven't got brains, any of them, only grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake, and they don't think.”
Which is why they, and they alone, are so grotesquely cheered by their ominous balloon.
Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of ALG News Bureau.