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Thursday, December 01, 2016

LYNN BERGMAN: DEBT CRISIS TO STALK 115TH CONGRESS

JIM’S TRUCKS

 

 

The good news emanating from the 2016 United States General Election is that a majority of major party voters in 60% (30 of 50) of the states value working for a living over unearned subsistence payments. The bad news is that these same voters represent only 46.3% of voters overall.

 

President-elect Trump's own words throughout his campaign reveal a very weak understanding of what the founders knew to be the stark differences between “government” and “society” as perhaps most eloquently stated by Thomas Paine in his “Common Sense”. The President-elect is not alone in his grossly unsophisticated view of the legitimate “roles of government”. Most Democrats and too many Republicans in both houses of the coming 115th Congress have, over the years, declined to limit federal responsibility to the dictates of our Constitution, instead believing that a burgeoning national debt will result in no severe national consequences during their lifetimes.

 

The national debt is now approaching 20 Trillion dollars, over $61,000 per citizen, over $166,000 per taxpayer, and over 100% of US GDP (US GDP is 18.7 Trillion dollars), what most economists believe to be the upper limit for sustainable positive growth. The largest budget items are:

 

Medicare/Medicaid                             $1.126 Trillion

Social Security                                    $0.916 Trillion

Defense/War                                       $0.581 Trillion

Income Security                                  $0.303 Trillion

Federal Pensions                                 $0.273 Trillion

Interest on Debt                                  $0.252 Trillion

 

We are paying more taxpayer revenues on federal pensions than we are spending on interest on the national debt. And the prospects for debt interest costs rising are great.

 

President-elect Trump has indicated he expects NATO members to pay their full 2% share of NATO costs. If he is successful, the cost of Defense/War MAY be held in check. The consequences of withdrawal from the world stage, however, would not be something any of us should welcome. 

 

President Trump has indicated he expects congress to spend considerably more on national infrastructure. If infrastructure spending is spread out over enough time, increased incremental project costs can be contained. If more work is proposed than contractors can reasonably perform, costs will increase greatly to the detriment of the taxpayer. As contractors perform at close to 100% in the near future, “income security” (up to 2 years of federal unemployment compensation) costs can be reduced, as least for those willing and able to work construction. And it is time to limit unemployment to three weeks, the same three weeks of remaining benefits most current recipients wait for to find work.

 

Lastly, the most promising area for improvement lies in shrinking the size of the federal government. Areas ripe for downsizing or even elimination are federal involvement in energy, education, commerce, agriculture, and labor. The positive affects of these agencies are, to many taxpayers, obviously questionable and NOW is the time for a Republican Congress AND President to make historic cuts in these agencies and the pork-barrel politics they have represented in the past.

 

If voters in 30 of the 50 states want less government, its time Republicans deliver on their promises in accordance with their platforms of past election cycles. If they don't, a debt crisis of monumental proportions will make the “dirty thirties” look like a Sunday School outing. Congressman and Senators; don't you ever say you were not warned and didn't expect such an economic collapse! If such a calamity occurs due to your excessive federal spending, your jobs and pensions will be the first to be eliminated by those that replace you in subsequent elections!

 

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