Professor Niall Ferguson, in his impressive book, Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, details the fall of the British Empire after World War II. The rapid British disintegration resulted from the depletion of the U.K.’s financial and material resources in its war against Germany. The country was exhausted by massive borrowing, along with a national debt and expenditures it couldn’t afford.
The parallels with present-day America are there to see, enough to make a thoughtful person more than uneasy. But most ignore George Santayana’s apt advice carved into the wall of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. — “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
The plain truth is that the American government is bankrupt. Yet very few of our would-be “leaders” seem willing to admit that fact.
Check the transcript of the recent Republican presidential candidates’ debate in Cleveland and you will find almost no mention of the U.S. national debt or the annual budget deficit. A day after the debate, Hillary Clinton, in a typical vote-buying ploy, proposed taxpayers pay for nearly everyone’s public college education at a cost of $350 billion.
Gov. Christie, Senator Cruz and Donald Trump mentioned “debt” in passing, but only Dr. Ben Carson denounced the “national debt and how it’s being driven up.” Said he: “If I was trying to destroy this country what I would do is find a way to … drive the debt to an unsustainable level.”
The sort of leader I greatly admire did go to the heart of this problem.
Ronald Reagan explained: “We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.”
How Much Is a Trillion?
If you want to make yourself ill, seriously stop and think about the true dimensions of the deep economic and financial hole into which the politicians have dragged the United States — and what it might do to you personally.
In the United States, a “trillion” is a very large number that is represented as the number one, followed by 12 zeros: $1,000,000,000,000. As I write, the National Debt Clock informs us that the official U.S. national debt is nearly $18.4 trillion, a figure that equates to 87% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
The debt for each U.S. citizen is $57,000; for each taxpayer, $154,400. Taking into account the added unfunded liabilities of all entitlement programs, the national debt exceeds $97 trillion! And that equates to $819,600 for every American.
The “experts” tell us that all this someday will have to be paid by taxpayers. But the truth is about 60% of the U.S. households don’t pay any income taxes at all. The majority of income taxes are paid by the top 20% of households, those “rich” people whose taxes Mr. Obama always wants to increase so they can be forced to be more “patriotic,” in Vice President Biden’s quaint phrase.
As a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, I am honored to serve as a member of The Congressional Fiscal Leadership Council and support its Campaign to Fix the Debt, a nonpartisan movement to encourage people all across America to elect officials who pledge to solve America’s long-term fiscal problems.
Any serious candidate for president has a duty to tell us what they will do to confront the national debt and other budget challenges. But we know that election campaigns are about telling voters what they want to hear, rather than what they need to know.
To separate fiction from reality, the Campaign to Fix the Debt offers you a Fiscal FactChecker to monitor the truth of 2016 presidential campaigns. You should review the 16 myths that are used during political campaigns. We don’t “owe it to ourselves,” as sly Keynesian economists used to claim. Over 55% of the national debt (and the interest on it) is owed to foreigners — a major share held by the government of communist China.
American Survival at Stake
In the meantime, the Federal Reserve and the Obama government pretend to create money. Too many people think these fake “assets” have value when they are only digits in computers and stacks of paper printed with colored ink, not gold or silver.
This enormous national debt will have to be paid by everyone in the form of inflation when prices rise and the value of the dollar drops — or when the next Great Recession hits.
No honest person can claim this horrendous national debt is being imposed on our grandchildren. Now many generations of Americans as yet unborn will be forced to pay the bill for our collective financial sins, not only in dollars, but in lost freedom — if America even survives.
Yours for liberty,
Bob Bauman JD
Chairman, Freedom Alliance