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Shoulda Been Called the Fiscal Status Quo…

Tim Bean

1/2/2013

capital statues

Well, well, well, “we” have successfully steered clear of the so called fiscal cliff, and more than likely on a more direct path toward the fiscal black hole.  Don’t you feel oh so good about that?

Sure, sure, the stock market reacted quite well today, the first day of trading after New Year’s Day; which means that your retirement account did well too, and that is definitely good for you.  However, does this “grand” bill actually make it good for the country?  Probably not.

Unfunded liabilities, totaling more than $87 trillion,  have not, and were not addressed.  What that means is that there are more than $87,000,000,000,000 of “things,” like Social Security, Medicare, and federal employee pensions – which includes our men and women in uniform – that our government has obligations to pay out, but doesn’t, or hasn’t enough allocated funding to adequately meet those obligations.  Did this fiscal cliff bill address that?  Sadly no.

Then there is the fact that those tax increases on all of those evil rich people making $400,000+ (If single); $450,000+ (if married) a year amounts to a spit in the ocean, when compared to the projected 2013 deficit of $901 billion.  So, yeah, glad to see the deficits were addressed . . .

What about the $109 billion in spending cuts though?  Well, our elite people in Washington have decided that the best way to address those spending cuts is to allow a two month delay on the automatic spending cuts that were scheduled to take effect from the fiscal cliff.  Yeah, they decided it’s best to address that later; probably hoping no one will be paying attention to any of this come March.  So, nothing really happens there either.

Oh, and let’s not forget that the greatest nation on Earth hasn’t had an official budget passed in over four years now.  Apparently everything is being funded in a whack-a-mole fashion right now, since there isn’t a budgetary guide line for anything.  Not that it really matters though, because for oh so many years our government has basically taken all of those annual budgets and thrown them out the window, because it has routinely spent more money than it budgeted for; known “affectionately” as deficit spending – isn’t that cute?

So what’s in this bill?  How about  $12.1 billion to wind energy research; $150 Million to television/Hollywood tax subsidies.  Yeah, definitely crucial items there.  Then there’s a $13.50/gallon tax on rum to be distributed to Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.  Whew, I was really sweating over the rum tax.  Of course who can forget the Goldman Sachs new office building and luxury apartments being built in New York, at taxpayer expense, under the guise of the liberty zone 9/11 encouragement subsidies; because Heaven knows Goldman Sachs is struggling to make ends meet.  Along with the now permanent 40% estate tax, so don’t plan on leaving anything of worth to your children, because Uncle Sam wants a piece of that action too; and a rollback of the payroll tax to 6.2%.

Some wish to blame either the Red, or the Blue people for where we are now.  Well, I think that is a horribly myopic view, because we didn’t just wake up today to find our country in this predicament.  It has taken years, in fact decades, for We the People to have accumulated a $16 trillion dollar national debt, and $87 trillion in unfunded liabilities; and during those decades I can assure you that the Red and Blue have had equal contribution to those ginormous numbers, and both have had ample opportunity to attempt solutions for them as well.  In short, we are where we are thanks to a bipartisan effort – and let’s not forget that the fiscal cliff was a result of a bipartisan compromise, and now its nonsolution was bipartisan too.  Who says the two parties can’t work together?  They seem to work perfectly fine together in running our country into the ground.

Sadly though, due to a completely ambivalent, and horribly uninformed populace none of what I have written above, and through this site, really means squat.  Too few are actually aware enough, and even less actually care enough to say that they’ve had enough of the shenanigans and hold those who purport to represent us accountable to their actions.  Then there are all of those who identify as either Red or Blue, and they have pledged such an allegiance to whichever is their favorite color, that they cannot see the forest through the trees.  They choose to ignore/forget their color’s screw-ups, and point fingers at the other color whenever they can; neither of which solves anything.

I put my crayons away years ago, and harbor no illusions or delusions over where we are as a country, how we got here, and whose fault it is.  It is ALL of our fault, because those who purport to represent us, and have put us in this predicament, were elected by us, and we haven’t held them accountable in God knows how many years.  Until We the People actually begin to take a deeper, more keen interest in how OUR country is run, then none of us can, or should expect anything but what we have now.

 

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.  (Friedrich Nietzche)

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