I don’t normally mention politics here on the blog but since this gripe is aimed at both parties and the president I guess I felt I wasn’t really taking sides in writing this as much as pointing out a problem that should have been fixed a long, long time ago.
As you well know employees pay into social security and medicare every paycheck. This has been going on since 1937. Since that year 13.8 trillion dollars have been collected for social security payments. A total of $11.3 trillion has been paid out. That means we should have a surplus of 2.5 trillion dollars in the system. Instead, we can’t even pay for one month of social security next week unless we borrow it from someone else. In fact, the US government borrows 40 cents of every dollar they spend. That is a travesty.
When politicians talk about cutting $2 trillion over 10 years (half of which is the wind down of Iraq and Afghanistan) you are talking about cutting 200 billion a year. At that rate, if we didn’t borrow another dime, we could pay off our 14 trillion dollar national debt in 70 years. Actually, it would take a lot longer than that because that debt has interest that makes it take longer to pay off because even if you don’t add to the debt (remember, we currently borrow 40% of our spending!) the interest still makes it grow.
Next, we are coming out of a recession and the recovery has a lot to do with the government propping up the economy via spending and cutting interest rates. If we are going to balance our budget…actually even more…pay off our debt not only do we have to cut our spending, we have to stop borrowing 40% of our spending AND pay back the money we owe. See the problem? The spending cuts are required but their consequences could have a ripple effect in the market/economy and really hurt our progress.
So what do the politicians do? Do they try to fix it or just posture? They have known this was coming for years and yet they allow it to hit crisis mode. The advantage of crisis mode is something has to happen that might not happen normally and so agendas get in the mix that could have been more easily weeded out if they had months to work through it. Now they won’t even have time to read whatever bill comes down the line and will just have to blindly vote on it. Ugh.
Needless to say, we are in a mess as a nation. But if we don’t tackle it now and make the hard decisions it will just get worse. We have to tackle the root problem here and not just symptoms. We also need to put politics and re-election concerns aside and do what is right for the nation here and for those who were forced to send their money to Washington with the promise that it would be there for them when they needed it. Last, they are talking about raising the retirement age to 70. Life expectancy is 79. So pay in your whole life for 9 years worth of what? I am tired of watching these guys act like they had no idea this was coming. If you acted like this in your job you would get fired but somehow these guys run the nation…rant done.