Let’s get one thing straight: We are rich. I mean, really rich. Our country is so rich as to make it almost unfathomable to even comprehend. We’re so rich we spend more on interest payments per day than some countries entire GDP. So what’s with all the talk about how we’re broke? The answer is not that we don’t have a shitload of money, it’s that our future expenses are projected to surpass our projected revenue. That’s called a deficit. Note that a deficit is different than debt.
Debt is fine. The U.S. has always operated at a debt – it’s what allows us to kick so much ass! By borrowing money (at low rates I might add, which are made possible by the stability of our government and the strength of our military) and using it to make investments in things we would not otherwise be able to afford, we increase our overall quality of life and stature in the world. This is a good thing – it’s the same logic families’ use when buying a house. No one pays for a house outright – it’s simply too expensive and they don’t have that much money saved up. Instead, they take out a mortgage and in return they get a nicer house then they would otherwise have been able to afford. It’s not until those mortgage payments become so large that the family is unable to pay them that they become a problem, also known as a deficit.
So, what exactly is driving the U.S.’s deficit problem? I’ll tell you what’s not – housing assistance, food stamps, environmental regulations, or military spending. All of that is considered discretionary spending and, in total, it makes up less than 20% of the overall federal budget.
What’s driving our deficit is the projected rise in social security, Medicare, and Medicaid. To put it another way, the baby boomers are bankrupting us, because when they retire it will cause a massive spike in spending that will be accompanied by an equally massive drop in federal revenue since they will no longer be working and therefore will no longer be paying into the system in the form of taxes. This is a big problem and the only way to address it is by reforming those three big programs. Unfortunately, this won’t happen, because the AARP (you know, those syrupy adds featuring old people and their grandkids you see on the hallmark channel and fox news) is the single biggest union in the world, and their influence over politicians is so strong as to negate any possibility of their precious welfare nets ever being touched, even if the changes will in no way affect their benefits. Don’t piss off granny, even if it means her grandchildren will be the ones who suffer.
Actually, that would make for a pretty funny AARP add – Grandpa and Grandson are sitting on the dock fishing and the grandpa says to the kid, ‘one day you’ll bring your own grandkids here’ and the kid will then look up and say, ‘Actually, thanks to the looming deficit your welfare benefits are creating and your unwillingness to engage in any talk of reform, I’ll probably have to sell this piece of property and use the cash to finance my own retirement. Greatest generation my ass.’
Hey, the kid said it, not me.