BY KEITH TUCKER
Special to The Enterprise
What happens when every sane person in the world knows that there is a fixable problem, but absolutely no one in a position to do so will make any attempt to do so? Let me try to shed some light on this. In the last six months, the United States has accumulated more debt than in a previous six-year period. By the 2030 decade, interest on the national debt will be the largest budget expense. The country’s assets that the government owns are valued at $6 trillion and the debt liabilities are $33 trillion.
If we ran a company like this, we would have to file bankruptcy. But we are not a company, and we live by our good name. The rest of the world buys our debt because they trust us to pay our bills. But rest assured, there is no free lunch, and a day of reckoning is coming. One day, China might just say, ok we will take Florida in exchange for your debt. Mainly because they want Disney World and the beaches. Just because we can print money does not make it valuable. The problem lies in the system of elected governance.
To get re-elected, the idea of buying votes by giving voters bigger and bigger government handouts, though rejected as an idea, is exactly what is happening. Now to accuse one party or the other as being the offender is incorrect. There has been deficit spending no matter who is in power. The state of Tennessee, nor our county or our local cities run themselves like this. So why do we allow our country to do so?
So, when an entity is dead, but continues to exist, it is called a zombie. Hence someone coined the term financial zombie. Financially the country is dead, but it just keeps on going. The term underwater was used to describe the plight of many homeowners during the last crisis. Many of those homes were only worth 70 or 80 percent of the loan against it. Our collective government is worth about 20 percent of what it owes.
So, when your kids and grandkids are old enough, go ahead and tell them they are going to need to pay a tax rate of at least 50 percent of their taxable income for their entire lives to make up for the way we ran things. Now for the really bad news. When your grandkids are saddled with high taxes because we could not control our spending, they will not hesitate for a moment to cut your Social Security and other benefits and will have really good reasons to justify it.
Editor’s note: Keith Tucker is a Greenfield resident and owner of The Marble Shop.