Where de fault lies in the threat of default of the U.S. government

July 23, 2011

It seems all but inevitable that the U.S. debt limit will be raised at the last minute, which I guess has to come just before Aug. 2 (I had heard that it has to come just about now because it would take a week to prepare, whatever that means).

But the chance for the far right to use the leverage of the threat of financial default to all but gut every social program they can think of is just too much to pass up.

But I am not blaming just the far right or conservatives or Republicans  or whomever you want to call them.

And I’ll stop right here to just say default would seem to be on its face a disastrous thing because the dollar’s value is based on trust and not much of anything else — not gold, not silver, not anything of hard value, just trust (when I was a kid I was led to believe that the dollar stood for all the gold in Fort Knox. That may have been partially true at one time, but we have been off the gold standard for a long time now. I spent some time at Fort Knox while in the Army. Never saw the gold. Saw a lot of dirty dishes in the mess hall, but I digress).

This just popped into my mind as I am writing this:

The blame probably should go about equally to the electorate as a whole and to the news media as a whole (or particularly the cable news, that seems to be where most people get most of their news), who seem to report opinion more than objective news.

The electorate as a whole does not pay enough attention to details and seems to respond to easily to the hyperbole of the extremes. If political candidates knew that people would not listen to or fall for their exaggerations, distortions and outright lies, they might be forced either out or to be  a little more honest.

Politics is politics and always will be a rough and dirty game, but if the electorate had better objective information (as opposed to debate talking points) and would use it, we might get a better crop of elected representatives and leaders.

The fault also lies with the super liberals who constantly push for the government to do everything for the individual, regardless of the cost, the idea being that the rich can and rightfully should pay for everything. And the super conservatives never met a tax deduction they did not like, but that deduction turns out to be a tax shift to someone else, probably a struggling working middle class (or lower middle class) worker.

And then there is our weird system for fiscal matters:

The legislative branch constantly votes in new programs that call for expenditures without any regard as to how they will be funded. The president, the executive, has no power to pencil things out because there are not sufficient funds. The line-item veto does not exist for the president. There is also no requirement for a balanced budget; it has been tried, but ruled unconstitutional.

Actually, we should all be conservative, at least on fiscal matters, but it seems to me the so-called conservative movement in the U.S. historically, at least in my lifetime, has mostly been about different priorities for spending more than less spending, despite their rhetoric.

And that is really where we are at now. The opposing political factions are arguing over spending priorities more than paying off the burdensome debt that eats up our tax dollars.

So turn off Fox and CNN and take some time to read maybe the Washington Post and the New York Times (I’m talking news stories as opposed to just opinion pieces, although you need to read those too) or any number of publications, mostly available on the internet, that seem to offer fairly objective analysis of the news (complete objectivity is difficult to obtain).

And to those who tend to read or listen only to what they agree with — what’s the point?

And despite the competing claims of the right and left as to where the majority of the American people really stand on the debt ceiling debate, here’s an opinion piece that claims Nixon’s old “silent majority” is mad as heck at all parties in the government — and by and large I agree with the points here, by and large that is: http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/07/23/zickar.silent.majority/index.html?eref=igoogledmn_topstories


And I still think that a way to pay off the national debt would be to institute a “debt tax” (not a death tax) dedicated solely to paying off our loans.

And why is Social Security threatened by default? Is there not a Social Security Trust Fund? Yes, I realize it is filled with IOUs, but those markers should be called in before Uncle Sam borrows even more money. And if Social Security starts to become insolvent, then the only option is to raise the Social Security deductions (as long as that money is actually going for benefits). Al Gore used to talk about  a Social Security “lock box”. He was right, the government should not rob the Social Security account.