The debt ceiling debate is ridiculous. Either we're willing to repay our debts or we aren't. If we're willing to repay our debts, we should eliminate the debt ceiling entirely, and announce we're willing to borrow 400 quadrillion dollars if that's what it takes to get our economy moving again. If we aren't willing to repay our debts, we should default on them already, and tell all the owners of treasury bonds 'tough luck, sucks to be you.' There are winners and losers to any investment. Stocks go up and down in value, and governments occasionally default on their bonds. That's life. The idea that you can get a positive interest return on bond purchases without bearing any risk is ridiculous. If not for the risk, why should you receive any money at all? It's not like bondholders are working for their dividends. They're getting free money for taking a risk -- a risk that we might default and not pay them back. Well it's time for that risk to 'happen' and for all current bond holders to lose their game of risk/reward just like anyone who plays the roulette wheel or the stock market.
Ironically, this would not increase the price of government borrowing in the future. If we defaulted on all of our current debts, we'd have a clean balance sheet -- IE, we'd be amazingly capable of repaying new debts because there wouldn't be any competition for taxpayer debt servicing due to old, bad debts. With less debt to repay, people could be confident once more that THEIR debt would certainly be repaid, and people would flood into the newly rejuvenated bond market at bargain-basement prices. Countries all across the world have defaulted, and none of them are incapable of borrowing money anymore. People are just as ready to lend to them as they were before. The same would be true for America, which would find no shortage of customers immediately after a debt default looking to lend the government money all over again.
Either solution would work. Borrowing as much money as we wanted and paying it all back over millenia or simply by waiting for inflation to chip it away would work just fine. So would defaulting on all of our debts and refusing to pay any of it back. The one policy that will not work is losing the legal authority to borrow any further money while still promising to pay our bills with phantom, non-existent tax revenue. So of course our government has decided upon the one and only policy that makes no sense whatsoever.
While the government fritters its time away refusing to do its most basic tasks -- service the debt -- pay its bills -- pass a budget for the next year -- decide on a new, permanent tax code instead of just bumping the debate out to 2012 -- control the border and stop illegal immigration -- win the war in Libya it's already started but refuses to finish -- sign free trade agreements it's already negotiated with South Korea and Columbia -- the people are suffering more and more.
The federal government, and state governments, are making big deals out of granting gays the right to marry or serve in the military, at a time when Rome is burning. We are hosting gay pride parades while America burns. Posturing over a meaningless issue that affects a tiny minority of a tiny minority instead of actually governing a country that is bursting apart at the seams -- what have we done to deserve this government? Recent polls have shown that practically no one approves of Congress anymore. No one thinks this country is headed on the right track. No one even thinks theirs kids will be better off than they were anymore. And it's all because of stunts like this -- a government that can't even raise a God-damned debt ceiling like we have dozens of times in the past without any fanfare or effort as just a routine maintenance. I am so fed up with this debt ceiling debate. It has occupied Congress non-stop, ever since the (overdue) 2011 budget was finally passed. This means Congress still doesn't have any budget in place for fiscal year 2012, which starts in October! Are we going to pass that budget in 2013? And the 2013 budget in 2020? How incompetent and dysfunctional does Congress intend to become? If it cannot handle the responsibility of power by performing its assigned roles, why doesn't it simply disband and hand its power over to someone else, someone who can?
For hundreds of years Congress has managed to pass budgets, service debts, win wars, and perform every other routine activity of a sovereign state without an issue. But ever since Obama was elected, our budgets are coming out overdue, we can't legally pay our debts, and we have engaged in hapless wars without any plan for victory or endgame. How many US planes are involved in the bombing campaign against Libya? 5? 10? How is that supposed to dethrone a dictator? Why haven't we sent in the troops, or at the very least, completely annihilated the Libyan army like we did Iraq's army in Desert Storm -- with pure air power? This isn't a government, it's a running comedy routine! The three branches of government are the three stooges! A dog could govern our country better than this President and this Congress!
We have the most utterly inept federal government in US history, at the exact same time as we are grappling with one of the worst economic depressions in US history. This is Not the time to put on a comedy routine at the White House! Unemployment is at Great Depression levels and has been for years now. All the unemployment benefits are scheduled to run out by the end of this year, but there is no new solution for the unemployed. There are no government projects to give these people jobs. There is no private hiring that would give these people jobs. There is no welfare for these people to fall back on (you don't qualify unless you're a single mother!), and private charities don't have 1/100th of the funds that would be needed to keep this many people afloat. Meanwhile we continue to import millions of new immigrants every year, even though our country hasn't produced a single new job since 2000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Millions of new immigrants for the last ten years, NO NEW JOBS FOR ANYONE. What kind of recipe is this? What kind of plan is this? What kind of government does this?
The government is incapable of handling basic routine administrative measures like raising the debt ceiling or passing a budget while the American people have lost 30% of their net worth since 2008! Our nation is 1/3 poorer than it used to be three years ago. Many millions of Americans have been completely wiped out. They have no money! They have no jobs! They have no health care and they're not receiving any help! This is a national emergency. We're talking about 62 million Americans who have been WIPED OUT by our 2nd Great Depression. Instead of increasing government handouts to these unfortunate masses, who didn't ask for record immigration in a climate of zero job growth, who didn't ask for banks to hand out mortgage property like candy to anyone who wanted it, who didn't ask for three eternal wars in the middle east to be fought simultaneously with no clear victory condition and no clear endgame, who didn't ask for any of the causes of this Great Depression while still being the primary victims of these policies, we're talking about austerity measures to help moneylenders continue to earn nice profits on their free-money treasury-bond dividends!
Are you kidding me? At a time of universal suffering, with 20% of Americans out of work and 30% of our wealth wiped out, we're talking about how we can make sure every last bondholder in America, generally some super-wealthy cigar smoking fatcat who often lives in a completely different country, gets a princely return on all of their loans? This is not a time for austerity, such that every single bondholder is sure to make as large a profit as possible. This is a time for the government to completely unleash its spending power and spend more than we've ever dreamed of before. This is the time to not make the same mistake as the Great Depression, where we coupled unemployment with deflation and left crops literally rotting in their fields for lack of anyone who could afford to buy them while other Americans literally starved to death for lack of food. It's time to redistribute wealth like no tomorrow and give everyone who needs help everything they ever wanted, and FAST. NOW.
I want $12,000 in the pockets of every single American every year. The money should have no strings attached, it should just be deposited in your personal bank account and you can write a check to Sea World with it if you want. This citizen's dividend must continue until unemployment goes back down to 5% or so, according to shadowstats.com, not according to the Court Jester's statistics, after which point it's conceivable that everyone who wants to get a job can find a job, and therefore isn't deserving of government support. If the private economy can no longer get unemployment down to 5%, then I guess the citizen's dividend will just have to go on forever, now won't it?
I want the border fence George W. Bush promised us ten years ago on the border. I want E-Verify enforcing the rule passed by Ronald Reagan that made it illegal for employers to hire illegal aliens and I want these enablers thrown in jail so that illegals can't find a job here, can't make money here, and go back to the countries they came from where they belong. If all the illegal aliens went home tomorrow, that would create millions of job openings for the unemployed. Who knows, it might even raise wages from the UNMOVING RUT they've been in since 1970.
I want a sane tax policy with no exemptions and no loopholes that raises a sane amount of revenue, enough to actually service the government spending we've decided upon as a nation. Why are we spending more money than we take in in taxes every year? It's like we're schizophrenic. We tell the government, on one hand, that we want all sorts of services. But on the other hand, we don't want to pay for them. Brilliant! Why didn't we think of that before? Let's just defy the laws of physics and get something for nothing!
We should have a flat sales tax. Everyone has to buy something at some point. So we just need a flat sales tax that affects everyone equally. Rich people, presumably, spend more money on things than poor people too, so most of our tax revenue will come from the rich, just like it does today. However, rich people will not try to avoid making money just to avoid taxes because whatever money they make will not put them into a higher tax bracket. Sales taxes don't distort economic behavior -- only income taxes do. Combine the flat citizen's dividend with a flat sales tax rate and you produce -- heaven for everyone. The sales taxes of the poor will be easily trumped by their citizen's dividend. The sales taxes of the rich will be way above their citizen's dividends. Both sides will be overjoyed with their deal! The rich will finally get to keep as much of every dollar they make as the poor. The poor will finally have all the money they'll ever need. Everyone's happy! And, conveniently, the government takes in more revenue in taxes than ever before! Without the time-wasting, madness-inspiring, colossally expensive IRS anywhere in the picture.
We can set the sales tax to whatever we need to raise the money we need. 50%. 70%. 90%. No matter where we set it, it wouldn't distort economic behavior, because everyone has to buy everything they want in life sooner or later if they want to enjoy it. No one can avoid buying things, so no one can avoid paying their sales taxes, no matter how high we set them. Unlike income taxes, which self-destruct, raising less revenue the higher you set them, sales taxes can fleece taxpayers for everything they've got. No one can dodge or evade taxes anymore, whether they have a branch office in the Cayman Islands or not. What should the sales tax rate be set at? Well, if we want $12,000 per person, that's around 4 trillion dollars a year. Since the GDP is around 14 trillion dollars a year, sales taxes should be set at 33% to start with. That should get us all the revenue we need to pay for everything and everyone in America. Naturally, we should drop all the other taxes in the country -- social security tax, income tax, capital gains taxes, estate taxes, etc. One, flat tax for everyone that collects all the money the federal government needs in one stroke. If we find that we need a bit more money, then we can raise the sales tax. If we end up needing less, we can lower the sales tax. A competent government can fine-tune the policy until it purrs like a race car from start to finish.
We are currently living through one of the worst crisis in American history. But the federal government is giving gays the right to talk about how gay they are at work while refusing to pass a budget for a fiscal year that is supposed to start in just 2 months. Their priorities are beyond comprehension. They are suggesting cuts to things like the James Webb telescope, an inexpensive trinket that's mere chump change to our federal budget that could discover the origin of the universe and life on other planets, while refusing to eliminate tax loopholes for the rich, paying exorbitant prices for health care (at least twice as much as any other country does, even though they receive BETTER service than we do for their money), or cut a defense budget that so far has, in all its trillions of dollars, been unable to defeat a few nomads in tents. I have never seen a more myopic or defeatist culture as that emanating from the federal government. First we stop going to the moon. Then we retire our space shuttles. And finally we cancel our space telescopes and, once and for all, deny ourselves any access to space in any form forevermore. Is this America?
This isn't about avoiding disaster. The three stooges survived their stupidity no matter how bad it became, and so will our three stooges Government. The USA will blunder along like a blind giant no matter how poorly they govern for many years to come. This is about our pride as a nation, and our shame as moral agents.
What makes a country good? Its accomplishments. What makes a country bad? The suffering of its people. We could once be proud to be Americans because we landed on the moon, split the atom, won the Cold War and freed hundreds of millions of people from the tyranny of communism. We were a force for good in the world. Now what are we? The three stooges! We blunder into random wars, don't win them, and then gradually walk away from them again, like hurricanes with no purpose and no destination that randomly strike out across the world. We cancel any innovative projects that might make us proud like a trip to Mars or a carbon-free energy infrastructure. We don't even make movies out of our finest art, like Ender's Game or Wheel of Time, projects that have forever languished in 'development hell' even though the rights to produce them were sold long ago. The early 2000's saw the release of Lord of the Rings and the Star Wars prequels. The late 2000's produced nothing. Nothing worth viewing. An absolute desert that will be forgotten within a couple weeks, never mind decades. What has happened to our once proud people who used to be the leaders in all the arts and sciences and decisively smash any foe in a few years in war, no matter their strength? Where have they gone?
It's one thing to no longer be able to take pride in anything, because our country has become a barren desert of accomplishment. But it's another to feel morally ashamed of ourselves, for letting our people suffer in third world conditions in the midst of the greatest wealth and most billionaires on Earth. America should be ashamed of itself. We are the only civilized country on Earth without universal health care for all. We are the only civilized country on Earth that has abandoned its sick and injured children to their fates with a universal shrug of apathy. There is no excuse for this. It's unfathomable. We spend more money on health care than anyone does anywhere, but we are too stingy to share any of that spending with the uninsured -- some 30 million Americans. As a giant joke, Obamacare has promised the uninsured health insurance -- by making them buy it! Brilliant! Why didn't we think of that before! It couldn't possibly be because poor people can't afford health insurance. Therefore, all we ever had to do was make poor people buy health insurance and the problem solves itself! Let's make this clear. Every other civilized country on Earth covers the cost of health care with PUBLIC MONEY. Obamacare is promising to solve our health care problems via MANDATORY SPENDING FROM PRIVATE HANDS. It is not compassionate, it is not moral, it is tyranny coupled with apathy, a marriage only conceivable in hell, but of course passed by our three stooges federal government, against public opinion, and in clear violation of the Constitution, which nowhere grants the federal government the authority to make people buy anything.
Just as we're unwilling to help the uninsured, we're unwilling to help the unemployed. In the worst jobs market since the Great Depression, we're talking about cutting costs and ending unemployment benefits, of 'tightening our belts' and 'making sacrifices.' What do you want unemployed people to sacrifice next? Should they go barefoot in the snow? Should they donate their kidneys and lungs because after all you only need one to live? What exactly can the poor sacrifice to the rich anymore in this country, a country whose wealth imbalance has risen to its highest point since the 1920's, where the top 15% make more income and have more wealth than the bottom 85% put together? This is shameful. It is morally shameful for a single American to lack for anything so long as these billionaires are still raking in their ginormous profits (most of it untaxed via clever lawyer magic that finds an exemption for it all.) What kind of country abandons its poor for the sake of further enriching the rich? Who does that? Are we back to the feudal era? Are we back to Marie Antoinette? The median net worth of black households in this country has fallen to $5,677 a piece. That isn't enough to afford a single medical procedure, replace a broken car, or buy a single semester of college. Latinos are amazingly better off at $6,325. Maybe they could afford a single semester of college -- much good it would do them, since to graduate you need a few more. And heaven forbid you have two children. I guess you could give each of them half of one semester in college to prepare them both to become prime prospects for hiring from this super dynamic private hiring jobs-engine that America has been since 2000.
Oh wait, back in reality, we are creating the conditions for a civil war. As the haves and the have-nots face off, the feral hatred of one side, realizing they have been scammed of decades of their labor that wasn't able to even keep them above water and abandoned despite all the promises they were given of 'opportunity' and 'the American dream,' and the smug disdain of the other, hoarding their vast billions while sniffing their noses down at the vast majority of Americans as 'too stupid and lazy to live,' all we need is one spark for the whole conflagration to go up in smoke. I tremble for my country when I think of two sides, each completely convinced of the worthlessness of the other, finally coming to blows over who gets what in this winner-takes-all America. Painlessly, we could ensure the welfare of every single America, while giving the rich the best business climate they've ever had. Painlessly. But due to moral self-righteous libertarians, who would CUT OFF THEIR NOSE TO SPITE THEIR FACE, they would rather kill us all than give one penny in charity to the masses. This has ceased to be an economic issue and long since become a battle for America's soul. We are reaching the lowest circles of hell, where evil is considered the highest virtue, where apathy is 'standing up for your principles' and psychopathy called 'the American dream.'
Americans are suffering every day, all around us. They lack proper housing, proper education, proper parenting, proper health care, proper role models, proper policing, anything and everything. They have been thrown to the wolves by the tens of millions. Meanwhile rich old people are clinging to their wealth and presumably burying it in their coffins out of pure spite, having no need of such absurd plenitude, but being completely unwilling to give it to anyone else. Like the pharaohs of Egypt, America intends to bury its wealth with it, and any future America can hope for will have to be wrested from these mummies from their 'cold, dead hands.' I have never seen a more grasping culture than modern day America. During the Great Depression private charities sprang up everywhere, even the poor found ways to share whatever they had with their neighbors, while the government went in overdrive to get jobs and food to the needy. But this time around we gave a giant shrug of apathy and went about earning new record profits and bonuses for a few dozen bankers -- all the while celebrating the glories of liberty. This is shameful. No one else acts like this anywhere on Earth. Not Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Canada or Australia. No one has so utterly abandoned its poor for the sake of the super-rich. We have reached a new pinnacle of depravity. We have managed to become the most selfish and greedy people on Earth -- much good it has done us -- America ranks nowhere on the lists of comparative national happiness. No, there we ring in at the bottom. But at least we're free!
Americans don't have to worry about a collapse. There is too much money in this country, too many skilled workers and businessmen, too many natural resources, and too strong a military for anything to go wrong. What we do have to worry about is losing anything to be proud of, and gaining everything to be ashamed of, on Earth. This is the crisis we are currently struggling over. Why is America so worthless? Why are we so incompetent? Why are we the laughingstock of the civilized world? Why aren't we like our ancestors? Why don't we care about anything anymore? What will God think? He must be crying over this, his once most blessed continent, as it listens solely to the counsels of the Devil, and turns its back on virtue forevermore. Don't we want something better than this? Are we content with this America? Seriously?