It’s Worse Than You Think

Many – if not most – Republican voters are hampered in their long-term thinking by a short-term misconception: replace Barack Obama with Gingrich or Paul or Romney or Santorum or even Zombie Reagan on November 6 and it will be morning in America once again after the new president is inaugurated in January, 2013. Not only does this mode of thinking ignore the political what and wherefore of running a leviathan federal government, it  pays scant attention to just how precarious our situation really is. In many respects, we are right next to Europe on the edge of the cliff.

NRO’s Michael Tanner breaks the bad news:

This year, the fourth straight year that we borrowed more than $1 trillion to support the U.S. government, our budget deficit will top $1.3 trillion, 8.7 percent of our GDP. If you think that sounds bad, it’s because it is. In fact, only two European countries, Greece and Ireland, have larger budget deficits as a percentage of GDP. Things are only slightly better when you look at the size of our national debt, which now exceeds $15.3 trillion, 102 percent of GDP. Just four European countries have larger national debts than we do — Greece and Ireland again, plus Portugal and Italy. That means the U.S. government is actually less fiscally responsible than countries like France, Belgium, or Spain.

And as bad as things are right now, we are on an even worse course for the future. If one adds the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare to our official national debt, we really owe $72 trillion, by the Obama administration’s projections for future Medicare savings under Obamacare, and as much as $137 trillion if you use more realistic projections. Under the best-case scenario, then, this amounts to more than 480 percent of GDP. And, under more realistic projections, we owe an astounding 911 percent of GDP.

Even assuming the election of Zombie Reagan this November, the sheer inertia of the welfare state bureaucracy and the momentum it has gained in the past 80 years will make it extremely difficult – if not outright impossible – to slow it down and stop it, much less reverse it.

And don’t count on Republicans in Congress to be an enthusiastic part of that reform effort: most of them are part of the Establishment and the landed gentry of the Ruling Class. And there simply aren’t enough members in the Tea Party Caucus to make a substantive difference. For the effort to be a substantive one, the electorate would have return a veto-proof majority of unreconstructed Reaganites to both the House and Senate.

In turn, this new super-majority would have to cooperate and closely coordinate their efforts to dismantle much of the federal bureaucracy, taking whatever legislative steps are necessary to veer away from the proverbial iceberg and head for warmer, constitutional waters. For his part, the president would have to have the courage and the moxy to do the right thing and ignore the shrieking and wailing of the unhinged Left and Drive-By Media.

I don’t think I need to tell you that the above scenario will never happen because we’ve reached the tipping point: according to the Heritage Foundation, 49.5% of the U.S. population (almost 152 million people) pay no federal income taxes whatsoever – and a sizable percentage of them aren’t bothered by the fact that such an arrangement – in which the top 10% of taxpayers shoulder the burden for almost 70% of income taxes – is inherently unsustainable. We are at that critical juncture where Barack Obama will be able to cobble together majority voter support for continued expansion of the size and scope of the federal leviathan.

How can this be possible? Simple: the Cardinal Strengths of this republic  have all been compromised to the point where they are no longer strengths. Thus:

Virtue is rare commodity. Prosperity, consumerism and wholesale abandonment of God and his Commandments have destroyed the moral fabric of our society, leaving us bereft of the core virtues that strengthened our ancestors in the early days of the republic.

Self-reliance is a thing of the past. Over the course of the past century an increasingly indulgent and generous federal government has been actively engaged in doing more and more for people that they ought to do for themselves and, in the process, made several generations of Americans utterly dependent for their very sustenance on the largess of Uncle Sam – an arrangement that conveniently becomes a self-perpetuating and ever-expanding one insofar as the “dependent class” has a vested interest in electing executives and legislator who will ensure that the benefit stream is uninterrupted.

Education has become indoctrination. Our public school and university systems – once the envy of the world for the quality of education they bestowed – have, in the past 40 years, become overrun with Progressives and dominated by the agenda of the teachers’ unions to the extent that a significant percentage of the voting population under the age of 50 is poorly educated on such matters as civics, economics and history while those under the age of 30 are downright stupid and the human equivalent of sheep.

Unity has given way to neo-balkanization. We are all hyphenated Americans now and thanks to the destruction of virtue, self-reliance and sound education, we are a bitterly divided nation that, for all practical purposes, is on the verge of a second civil war.

If you think all of the foregoing will be reversed with the election of a conservative president, then I suggest you put down the crack pipe. It will require a Herculean effort on the part of the American people that can be possible if an only if we as a society recover our lost virtue and return to the God whose grace made this republic possible and from whom our inalienable rights derive.

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One Response to It’s Worse Than You Think

  1. Dana Pearson says:

    Gene,

    You hit a home run with this one. $15.3 trillion in national debt! Wow, it seem like only a couple of months ago it was just $15.0 trillion. Wait, it was just a couple of months ago, or even less! We are now running up more debt every month or two than we ever did in over a year — even in other past times of national fiscal mismanagement.

    One thing that we probably disagree on is Afghanistan and Iraq. We lost the war in Afghanistan to China, and we lost the war in Iraq to Iran. Those two wars cost us $2 to $4 trillion, depending on who is doing the estimates. 4,000 dead servicemen, tens of thousands of wounded warriors and hundreds of thousands of dead civilians later, Afghan nationals engage in deadly riots over burnt pieces of paper and Iraq seems to be in the midst of a civil war.

    But I am not a Ron Paul isolationist. I am fully aware that China and Russia have interests opposed to ours. As bad as the domestic situation is, the world situation makes it even worse. It sickens but does not surprise me to see China and Russia backing the Assad regime in Syria.

    One thing about the domestic situation that could be added to your already long list of woes, is that the commericial banking system is in shambles. Four or five banks now control the majority of national demand deposits. At least two of them, BofA and Citi, seem to still be very weak and perhaps getting weaker. The financial portion of the crisis we are in today — is due less to our out of control state and national debts and more to a corrupt banking-government partnership that let credit expand out of control, create bubble after bubble and leaves us looking at either a long period of contraction or another set of even more destabilizing financial bubbles.

    The reserve ratios at these banks need to be strengthened. They probably won’t be but should be. Such strengthening would cause a deeper recession / depression in the short term that would clean out the $ trillions in malinvestments. Then, we would be in a better position to face the reality of paying off or defaulting on the national and state debts.

    If the reserve ratios are not strengthened, then we will be in for even more wild swings between oil prices and jobless claims.

    Oh, by the way, more than 50% of US children born to mothers under the age of 30 enter life in a one parent family, with a potentially absent baby-daddy. So don’t count on the next generations to be any better than the current ones.

    Also, the worlds oceans are becoming cesspools of plastic. And we are becoming more obese and less active. Enjoy the weekend.