We’re Broke!

By “We”, I mean the United States.  At last check, we owe over 11 TRILLION dollars.  Compare this with the US GDP of 14.3 trillion dollars, and you may realize how big a problem that is.  To pay off our debts to the world in one year, we would have to tax about 80% of everything!

The reality is that the United States federal government needs to tighten its waistband and get serious about getting out of debt.  Just like getting out of personal debt is hard, especially when you have bills, getting out of federal debt will be hard.  If you want to know how you can deal with your own debts, visit Dave Ramsey’s site.  The federal government could follow his plan as well.

Here are a few things I see as immediate steps to take:

  1. No loans to anybody.  We’re broke.  They can borrow it from China, just like we did.
  2. Stop making payments to other countries for stupid things.  Don’t give food to dictators, even if the claim is that it goes to their people.  Don’t give money to dictators, even if the claim is that it goes to their people.  Don’t give money to perform abortions(!), even if it’s supposed to help population control.  We’re broke.  Throwing away money on this stuff is like spending $70/plate on dinners when you can’t afford Burger King!
  3. Now we start getting to the painful stuff.  Things like: get rid of the National Endowment for the Arts.  I know art is important, but if their art is actually all that good, people will pay for it.  If someone like Maplethorpe can’t find buyers, maybe he should consider a career as a stockboy at Wal-Mart.
  4. Stop funding PBS.  I know, I know, we might lose Sesame Street.  News flash: there is SO MUCH educational programming on TV that we can make it.  I don’t hear anyone bemoaning the loss of the Electric Company (now that was great TV!).  Cable and satellite have introduced so many channels that PBS is pretty well covered.  And don’t talk to me about it being “commercial free”.  Every science program seems to be supported by GE, DOW, or some other huge corporation… and “people like me”.
  5. Dismantle the Department of Education.  First of all, there is absolutely NO constitutional basis for its existence!  Education is the responsibility of the states.  Having a Federal Department hasn’t changed the fact that the US performs embarrassingly poorly in education against other nations.  Building the self esteem of an illiterate, innumerate third grader is a waste of time.  Teach the kid how to read and add, and the kid will start to feel better.
  6. Make the unionization of government employees illegal.  I remember a teacher’s strike when I was a kid.  I’m sorry, but if we aren’t paying teachers enough… the teachers can get another job!  It’s what I did.  Paying someone $100,000 per year when they wouldn’t be qualified for more than $40,000 in any other job suggests to me that someone is over-paid.
  7. Now we come to the really painful things.  Things like: gut all federal entitlement programs.  It is NOT the job of the federal government to pay welfare, regulate wages, pay medical benefits, pay retirement benefits, etc.  Social Security is a ponzi scheme.  If it was a private company, it would be ILLEGAL!!!!  We know it’s a failure.  Let it DIE!  Medicare, medicaid, etc. can go right with it.  Let state governments take care of their unemployed.  Let state governments regulate wages if they want.  $8 an hour is a decent wage in South Carolina.  It’s an insult in New York City.  Let local economies determine fair wages.  Heck, then we might be able to compete with illegal immigrants for jobs!
  8. Privatize the USDA.  Heck, privatize a LOT of the federal agencies that do useful work but are hamstrung by ridiculous rules from politicians.  Many federal agencies operate as if they were unionized, with all the ridiculous rules about how to fire someone who doesn’t do any work.  Privatize many of these agencies and they’ll get lean and mean.  The main job of the USDA is to report prices of farm goods.  I’m sure people will be willing to pay for that information if their taxes are lowered.  If not, well, maybe the information just isn’t that useful these days!
  9. Privatize the Post Office.  Maybe it will finish dying.  Then UPS and FedEx can deliver your letters.

At this point, you probably have the idea that I want a radically smaller government.  You’d be right.  The federal government has one main constitutional purpose: to deal with foreign governments through diplomats and the military.  90% of federal spending should be on those two areas.  NASA is cool, but it can either be privatized or made part of the air force.  The FCC does some good things, but we all know how well the digital transition went.   We also know what kind of trash is on TV.

If the federal government tightens its belt, we can get out of debt in a few years.  Adding trillions of dollars in new spending will NOT do that.  I do not look forward to our bankruptcy hearing.  It won’t be pretty.

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One Response to “We’re Broke!”

  1. jordancc Says:

    I’ve read a lot about NASA and the money being invested. I think this is one of the major organizations that should be privatized. The overall cost of space exploration would begin to drop and technology would be developed more rapidly with competing commercial businesses.

    An interesting (fictional) book that contains a lot of criticism against NASA is Deception Point by Dan Brown.

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