Unmade In America

Are we completely nuts? Why are we electing and re-electing people who are hastening us down a path of national economic self-destruction? This year the public debt of the United States passed 100 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). At current levels of imbalance between government revenues and expenditures, our national debt will double over the next decade meaning that simply to maintain the present ratio the U.S. economy would have to grow at 7 percent a year. If we were China, that might be remotely possible but we will be lucky to see 3 percent annual growth meaning debt will soon exceed 150 percent of GDP -- higher than bankrupt Greece.

To paraphrase President Roosevelt, this generation of Americans has a rendezvous with bankruptcy. No amount of priming the private sector as advocated by Republicans can grow us out of this problem. No amount of income redistribution and taxation proposed by Democrats could close the funding gap. We are screwed unless we force the political class to provide a clear, detailed, and comprehensive plan to avert the eminently preventable but presently inevitable consequences of their irresponsible and cowardly stewardship.

Policy makers express apocalyptic alarm that man-made carbon emissions could contribute some indeterminate increase in global temperature shortening growing seasons and raising ocean levels that cause coastal flooding (although the Dutch seem to have mitigated these problems for centuries). Climate science is complex and no one knows for sure what the real effects may be since average global temperatures have changed radically over millions of years and men have only been around for a few thousand. Still many advocate totally restructuring the world's economies on the off chance that the worst case theories might prove accurate.

While climate science is complicated and warming theories are subject to debate, arithmetic is pretty simple. The United States will soon go broke if we don't radically change what our government does and how we pay for it. We can debate the exact details of what this will mean for our nation and its people but can be certain that our way of life will be radically changed -- for the worse. The only consolation will be that we did it our way within the confines of our constitution: business as usual: a legitimate man-made, made in the USA disaster perpetrated by our duly elected leaders with the consent of the governed.

We have suffered a crushing financial crisis. Families have lost their houses and retirement savings, and over 25 million Americans are out of work or unable to find full time employment. We have been operating the government without budgets for three years through "continuing resolutions" because our political leadership is unwilling to admit that the numbers don't add up, that we must change what the government does, how it does it, and raise additional revenues to pay for it. Next November voters get a crack at one-third of the Senate, the full House of Representatives, and the president. We owe it to each other and our children not to vote for anyone who won't tell us in unambiguous detail exactly how they intend to make the numbers work. This isn't complicated; it's not climate science; it's just math.