The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Posts Tagged ‘deficit

This Won’t Be the First Time

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“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. The essential cause of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.”–Will Durant

If the United States were the first in history to experience a debt crisis with deficits that are about to bring this nation to its financial knees, government officials might have some excuse for what they’ve done.

The most frustrating thing about this mess is that our elected leaders knew where this would end from the beginning and if they didn’t know they have no business running a lemonade stand let alone a nation.  If it’s ignorance that got us here we have a bone to pick with our education system and its failure to teach history.  Because historical precedents for what we are now experiencing are many and should be part of every high school curriculum

Every country that has spent beyond its means has spiraled to disaster. The crash the US is about to experience has been experienced many times before.

Rome anyone?

FallOfRomeThree successive Roman emperors, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, all emptied their treasuries to pay for lavish ceremonial feasts, luxurious villas, elaborate temples, servants who never served, and bribes to the army and praetorian guard to ensure loyalty. When the money ran out, these arrogant rulers raised taxes, seized the assets of wealthy citizens, or expanded the money supply by remitting old coins using more base metal and less gold and silver.

What they got from this manipulation was severe inflation. In one thirty-year period during the third century A.D., the price of wheat rose 100,000 percent! A loaf of bread that cost the equivalent of $2.00 at the start of the period cost $2.000 at the end. By the time Rome collapsed high taxes had already destroyed Roman commerce. Cities and towns were reduced to ruin by lack of investment in their maintenance, the population was impoverished and dwindling, and riots and rebellion were commonplace.

Thirteen hundred years later, Spain, which had been one of the mightiest countries in Europe, began running huge deficits to pay for wars, a bloated civil service, and endemic corruption. By the end of the sixteenth century, revenues covered only half the state’s spending. Sound Familiar? Repeated currency devaluations, growing inflation, and a murderous tax burden killed off Spanish industry and agriculture. Impoverished, Spain lost its global influence as its empire contracted to a fraction of former size.

America In Ruins

Some economists think if the U.S. is very, very lucky it can fix its debt/deficit and suffer no more in the process than Great Britain has in the last thirty years. Great Britain’s economy didn’t so much crash as run aground. In 1976, the British government had to ask the IMF for help in servicing its debt, an acute embarrassment to the once mighty kingdom. In 1979, with inflation nearing 14%, British elected Margaret Thatcher to right the ship. Her platform stressed fiscal conservatism, lower taxes, and a reduced public sector. Thatcher’s unpleasant task was to remind Brits that though the public might make unlimited demands on the government for services, the government’s resources were still finite.

If the United States has its own Margaret Thatcher, We haven’t elected him or her to national office yet.

One thing is certain in these troubling times: What we do now will determine what happens to us later, both as individuals and as a nation. Little time remains for us to act, and, even then, our actions must be decisive, bold and radical if they are to prove effective. Forestalling the demise of our country requires the commitment and participation of all of us.

And it has to start now.

Written by DCL

March 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Tax The RICH! Sounds Good, Solves Little

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I ask for common sense.  I ask you to look at the math.  I ask you to dig down deep.  I ask you to be honest.

Is increasing taxes on millionaires in this country more about helping pay off the debt OR making jealous people feel better?

Watch and consider.

http://plus.cnbc.com/rssvideosearch/action/player/id/3000083556/code/cnbcplayershare

Class warfare is not a healthy thing for this country.

It’s got to stop!

Written by DCL

April 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm

It’s Time to Sacrifice

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Times are tough.

I’ve felt the sting of the economic downturn myself and understand the concept of differentiating between my wants and my needs.  In so doing I have had to cut back significantly on my monthly spending.  It hasn’t been easy.  In fact it’s been pretty damn hard and humbling.  But we’ve done it to the best of our ability and are managing to keep afloat even if that means our noses are just above the waterline.

With that in mind it is with great interest that I follow the current furor over the nation’s budget and the proposals to come out of congress and the White House.

The President ordered the cabinet to cut $100 million from the $3.5 trillion federal budget.

Those numbers are so incredibly large they become surreal to most of us average folks making it tough to really wrap one’s head around it.  So I decided to do some math and get some comparative figures based on my own budget.

You know, to help bring it down to earth.  The one you and I live on at least.

My monthly expenses, prior to my own personal economic downturn, came to about $5000 a month.  That includes my mortgage, car payment, utilities, groceries, household expenses, medical needs, child related expenses,  credit payments, meals out and entertainment, etc.

If I was to follow the lead of the president, taking the same action he took in the face of reduced revenue and the prospects of financial failure and a bankrupt government, I would have to get out the budget cutting axe and bite the bullet!  100,000,000 dollars is a big number.  That has to hurt.

Cutting my spending by exactly the same ratio as the president’s proposal is 1/35,000 of my total budget: 100,000,000 / 3,500,000,000,000 = 1/35,000.

The ultimate burden of sacrifice I would have to ask my family to commit to and share would be…

18 cents.

Kind of puts the whole fiasco in Washington into perspective doesn’t it?

Unfortunately I don’t have a printing press in the basement rolling out sheets of $20’s to supplement my spending habits nor can I vote myself a new debt ceiling to waylay the approaching and open hands of my creditors.

In the personal economies of my world and yours, sacrifice is real.  It can cut deep and be painful. Still, we do what is necessary to provide the needs of our families, we work to improve our situation and over time we hope it gets better.  In the meantime we survive, sometimes with a little help from our friends, families, or religious communities.

What our government is doing through its inability to understand the word sacrifice, by not saying no to its wants, by not being fiscally responsible, by printing money that has no foundational backing, spending recklessly over generations of time, over-taxing its citizens, and not seriously considering balancing its books, is making our personal efforts to improve our own personal economies next to impossible.

For me this isn’t about political parties, ideologies, or the power struggles that pervade the beltway of our nation’s capital.  It’s about liberty.  The freedom to go out and create for myself and my family the means by which we can enjoy the wonderful things and opportunities in our world.

Vote for Liberty in 2012.  Change, as we are learning, is simply too ambiguous and too risky.