Friday, March 25, 2011

Maxed Out

Well, maybe we should all just step back and look at the bigger picture. Last night my best friend and I watched a movie called Maxed Out, a movie made before the financial crisis. In it there is a picture of the National Debt Clock sitting at 7.3 trillion dollars. About 6 years later, it's nearly doubled to 14 trillion, increasing at well over one trillion dollars per year. The link above has another number that I also wonder about, the "US Total Debt" which "includes household, business, state and local governments, financial institutions, and the Federal Government" and is sitting at $55.2 trillion or $676,000 per family. With a debt and deficit so unfathomably large, is there really any hope of paying it off? I don't see any signs of deficit reduction either: it seems like Democrats don't want to talk about it because they don't want to threaten any government programs; meanwhile, Republicans might talk about cutting programs, but in reality they won't touch most of the core budget including national "defense", and any spending cuts they do make will be cancelled out by tax cuts.

U.S. federal politicians, for the most part, seem not to care about the big picture. Oh, they might say they care for the cameras. But I think they believe that their jobs in the House and Senate are just that--jobs. They are not there primarily to serve Americans; rather their main concern is to keep their jobs, and it's hard to do that without serving their corporate sponsors. The sponsors don't want spending cuts--after all, every spending program benefits the private sector somehow. The sponsors do want tax cuts--especially corporate tax cuts and Bush tax cuts.

Surely this can't continue forever. Sooner or later, creditors will demand their pound of flesh. My guess is that China can already dictate US foreign policy toward it. I haven't studied history enough to guess what will come next, but you know the saying, "Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it"? The "doomed" part has me worried.

Aww, heck. The big picture sucks. Let's stop looking at it again.

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