Saturday, July 9, 2011

Debt Ceiling Crisis? A Mazda Miata in Denmark.

Obama's Debt Mess is Bigger than Bush's. And this doesn't include the Bush/Obama Fed's 2009-11 400% monetary expansion. Chart Courtesy of US Government
In looking at the recent discussion of the so-called "debt ceiling crisis," I am surprised that no one in the legacy media unravels the cost of government operations and atavistic military strategy.  There are discussions of costs of failed but supposedly sacrosanct programs such as Medicare and Social Security, but no one seems to have asked that the federal government provide information about what percentage of these programs goes to administration, capital costs, personnel costs, and other service costs, such as consultants.  For instance, an organization called the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out that $705 billion go to defense, but does not clarify how much of that goes to colonels in the Pentagon sending memos to each other and how much goes to keeping America safe.

Anyone who has worked in a bureaucracy knows that empire building and waste are rules, not exceptions. As well, it is evident that numerous federal departments are complete failures and should be terminated. These include the Departments of Education, Labor and Energy.  

As well, we currently maintain more than twenty military bases in Germany.  What, exactly, are we defending Germany from?  Vladimir Putin? Fidel Castro?  Why can't Japan defend itself?  It seems to me that the Japanese, Taiwanese and South Koreans can either pay us for maintaining bases in Guam, South Korea  and elsewhere in Asia or, better yet, do it themselves.  A list of US military bases around the world is here. There are over 1,000 that cost us over $100 billion per year. Do we really need so many bases?  Our main opponents now are terrorists who are mobile, incognito, work in microscopic units and are not susceptible to orthodox warfare.  I appreciate the importance of security, but do bases in Denmark and Spain really contribute to our or to Denmark's and Spain's defense?  Are they relevant to post-modern warfare? It seems that something is rotten in Denmark, and in Washington, if  the President and Congress view a debt ceiling of $14 trillion as a "crisis" but view 1,000 military bases, including many in Germany and Denmark, as sacrosanct.

The Washington crew, including Boehner, Obama and Reid, remind me of my ex-wife who, with a $30,000 credit card balance in 1991, considered her lack of   Mazda Miata a "crisis" and went out and bought one for an additional then-$26,000 in debt.  American politicians have a multitude of Mazda Miatas: dole programs, bridges to nowhere, failed educational systems, failed energy policies and bloat in the military.

The American people have not gone brain dead.  They do not agree that indebtedness nearly equal to the nation's gross domestic product of almost $15 trillion is desirable. According to Rasmussen, fifty-five percent of likely voters believe that cuts in government will help the economy. As well, according to Rasmussen:

Just 24% of Likely U.S. Voters think tax increases help the economy. Fifty-four percent (54%) disagree and believe tax hikes hurt the economy...Most voters have said tax increases hurt the economy in every survey but one since July 2008.

If so, why do Americans continue to elect profligates like Boehner, Obama and Reid,  who think every military base is a Mazda Miata?  My guess is that the legacy media, pawns of Wall Street, bamboozle the public.

Social Security provides a benefit that is a tiny percentage of the average contributor's future value of lifetime contributions.  There are specific reasons, including its welfare component and the 21st century workers' subsidization of 20th century retirees as well as Congress's use of Social Security funds for other purposes.  But given Social Security's failure, why do 21st century Americans want it?   Why is there no discussion of voluntarization?  If Social Security is  20% of the federal budget, even authoritarians like America's Progressives should be glad to allow citizens to opt out of the failed program. But they aren't.  Every opportunity for authoritarian compulsion, badly designed programs and ignorant violence is a Progressive Mazda Miata.

Moreover, if few Americans believe that tax increases help the economy, why is John Boehner ready to capitulate to the Miata-loving Progressives in the debt ceiling discussions? 

The debt ceiling crisis is an opportunity to propose voluntarization of Social Security, the elimination of the Departments of Education, Labor, and Energy, the elimination of half of the military bases and the elimination of one third of government operations costs, including in the Pentagon. If Boehner does not take advantage of it, the Republicans need to go.

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