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Trick or Treat: 142-trillion-pound debt monster returns from grave

Posted: October 30, 2013 - 3:11pm

With the arrival of Halloween, an old familiar monster rises from the grave like Freddy Krueger in “Nightmare on Elm Street.” 

But, unlike the famous fictional character, this beast is real and threatens to choke off our children’s future, consigning our great grandchildren to lifetimes of bondage. The 142-trillion-pound monster in the room is America’s mushrooming national debt, and the October surprise is that Congress must once again raise the debt limit only six months after raising it to $17.3 trillion. 

Consider these alarming facts: the $17.3 trillion national debt employs Enron-style accounting and ignores government’s major unfunded liabilities including Social Security, Medicare, and government pensions. As a practicing CPA, I assure you that private sector companies would be forced to include these obligations on their balance sheets. 

So, the true national debt including unfunded liabilities is really $142 trillion dollars — $142 trillion divided amongst every single taxpayer in America is $1.25 million dollars each. If you thought your family was debt-free — surprise! — you really owe $1,250,000 for every taxpayer in your household. 

As your young son or daughter enters the workforce, excited to start building their nest-egg; they’re not starting from ground zero, they’re starting with a 1,250,000 pound weight about their neck — an enormous burden dragging down America’s economy and our children’s future. Sadly, our generation elected spineless politicians who simply didn’t have the backbone to say no to wasteful, excessive government spending.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, while insisting that he doesn’t vote party lines, has repeatedly voted straight Democrat on numerous party line votes which defeated U.S. House attempts for lower spending on the continuing budget resolution, including voting against attempts to simply delay Obamacare (with its $1.8 trillion pricetag) for one year. 

Our elected officials are by-and-large still asleep during this living nightmare. According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, America’s deficit to GDP ratio was second worst worldwide in 2010 and 2011 and fourth worst in 2012. The World Economic Forum also ranked America’s debt to GDP ratio as 140th out of 144 nations, fifth worst in the entire world.

Prior to 2009, historically, 17 percent of federal government spending was deficit spending. Since 2009, a whopping 53 percent of government spending is now debt-financed deficit spending. The $3.5 trillion spent annually is almost $28,000 per year for every household in America.  Is all this spending necessary, or have zombie-like politicians simply become so dollar-drunk and power-mesmerized that they’ve lost all self-control?  

Consider these boondoggles: 

• $376 million in White House renovations, including construction of a temporary pseudo Oval Office for the president to use only temporarily while the regular Oval Office is being renovated.

• The U.S. Navy spent $681,387 on one “scientific” study confirming that men look taller, stronger, and manlier when carrying a firearm, $300,000 to conclude the first bird on earth was probably black-feathered, and almost a half-million to determine that unintelligent robots can’t hold a baby’s attention.

• $188 million wasted by the TSA on 5,700 pieces of security equipment sitting unused in storage. 

• The IRS spent $4.1 million on an extravagant conference for 2,600 IRS employees, including $50,000 for line-dancing and Star Trek parody videos, $135,350 for outside speakers, $64,000 in conference “swag” for the employees, free meals, cocktails, and hotel suite upgrades. Meanwhile, the IRS discriminates against Tea-Party groups which oppose this wasteful spending.

Is profligate spending by “Washington Gone Wild” enough to tank history’s greatest economic engine — the American economy? Consider this: In roughly the same time period in which politicians ramped up deficit spending to more than half of the federal budget from 2008 to 2012, the median household income in America dropped 8.1 percent. That’s $4,400 less income per household annually. In that same timespan, there was a 21 percent increase in number of Americans in poverty, a 70 percent increase in number of people on food stamps, and the median net worth of American families plunged 39 percent. 

It’s time America wakes up and realizes that excessive, wasteful government spending is seriously deteriorating our future economic stability. Stand up for our grandchildren’s future; petition Washington for real spending cuts now that will eventually balance the federal budget.

Joe Balyeat is a National Merit Scholar, national award-winning CPA, and former chairman of the Montana Senate Business and Economic Affairs Committee. He is a part-time Alaskan residing near Anchor Point, and is an acting co-director for Americans For Prosperity- Alaska (Alaska@AFPhq.org).

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natural born anthropologist
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natural born anthropologist 10/30/13 - 06:40 pm
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Joe

Ronald Reagan first allowed the debt monster in the door back when he was elected president in 1980. The debt monster was beaten back by Bill Clinton when he raised marginal taxes on the wealthy in the 1990s. The debt monster was put on steroids when George W showed up as President and significantly cut the marginal tax rate across the board and took us to war and increased medicares drug benefit by hundreds of billions while at the same time, at the expense of purchasing power and efficiency not allowing the Federal government to purchase drugs in bulk which, of course, gave full license to the drug companies to charge as much as they want against you know who... and, finally, let us not forget the toll George W's economic collapse took. Remember the 700 $billion Tarp program brought to us, again, by whom?

Unfortunately, Joe, it doesn't stop there. Since the economic collapse in 2008 the Republican Party, egged on by folks like you at America for Prosperity (what a joke) have stood every inch of the way in the way of an economic recovery adding a couple $trillion easily more onto the deficit. Just look at what Republican antics, just over the past couple weeks, has cost the government and the economy. Oh ya, did I forget to mention the $3 trillion that George W kept off the books to wage the war at the same time he cut taxes?

Anyway, Joe, your just a well paid shill of the Koch Brothers. With your fancy degree you should be ashamed of yourself. But in today's world shame has no bottom. If you and your friends at American for Prosperity had an ounce of honesty you'd call yourselves Americans for Oligarchy.

Anyway, say hello to the Koch boys for me.

Natural Born Anthropologist

natural born anthropologist
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natural born anthropologist 10/30/13 - 07:47 pm
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Joe

Joe,

There are still some real patriots left. And you are not one of them. You're a part, as an agent for Americans for Prosperity, of what we natural born anthropologist call the Great American Mind Suck. How many pieces of silver did you sell out for Joe?

Natural Born Anthropologist

kearbear
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kearbear 10/31/13 - 05:49 pm
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So much debt, so much

So much debt, so much borrowing, so much spending. The big spenders keep borrowing to finance their schemes. One government cash for clunkers program after another. Programs that do not create the promised jobs. Programs that create more debt. Kids graduating with enormous personal student debt. Kids living at home until they reach their 30's. Kids staying on their parent's insurance till they are 26. The American economy is gasping for breath. "Future Generations, we apologize" as Kurt Vonnegut said.

natural born anthropologist
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natural born anthropologist 11/02/13 - 04:01 am
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Kearbear

Kearbear,

Your like a circus bear that's mastered, in a clumsy way, standing on its head or at least standing reality on its head. Your the type person who advocates closing down government and then has the audacity to turn around and complain that federal parks and facilities have been closed when you get what you want. What do you believe in the Tooth Fairy. Hence, I like to call your ilk Tooth Fairyians.

Anyway, would you please enumerate for me all the cash for clunkers programs of Obamas, that in your warped mind's eye you see out there in the world?

Looking at the results of Govmnt Motors, I sure wish there were more. We might have an economy jump started again.

Future generations we apologize for Kearbearian politicians with their paws in the honey jar dolling out all the honey to corporate America. Look at the debt from Ronald Reagan to this point in time it has wrought. Future Generations we apologize for the Kearbears of the world who can't face reality or worse distort it.

Who was it who once said, " I fear in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country...corporations have enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed, " Kearbear?

Kearbear, in our area you are a part of what us natural born anthropologist call, in the annals, the Great American Mind Suck, working upon the prejudices of the people.

Kearbear your great at lifting quotes out of context like Shakespeare's quote and Mark Twain's you offered last week. I could provide that context, but with you, a self fashioned brain wave adjuster, it's not worth the effort.

Natural Born Anthropologist

foxriverfred
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foxriverfred 11/02/13 - 07:00 pm
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You know, Tim, kearbear is right

Debt is out of control, let's crank up more subsidies to the Michelle Bachmanns, Exxons and Kochs of the world and cut food stamps to Veterans. That will fix things, right kearbear.
Seriously, kearbear, you'd agree with me that we should go back to the way things were way before Reagan raised the debt limit 18 times and tripled the debt, sending us into this spiral. You know, when we had strong unions creating a strong middle class and healthy wages along with higher taxes for corporations and the wealthy.
Things were so great before Reagan.

foxriverfred
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foxriverfred 11/02/13 - 07:10 pm
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And Joe.....reality check......

You're little speech is right out of the Koch bros "Americans for Prosperity" playbook and disconnected from reality.
You're little "boondoggles" list pales in comparison to your Koch bosses' collections of government $$ and subsidies. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/03/01/146847/charles-koch-welfare/
Were you complaining when GW gave us 2 wars, Med part D and 2 massive tax cuts for the wealthy and didn't pay for them?
I don't recall that you were.

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