What is a $1.5 Trillion dollar deficit?

The number is staggering — $1.5 trillion in deficit spending this year alone — a number so huge that the zero key on a manual typewriter would go bald if one kept typing the number. This sort of drunken sailor spending can help no one. It is not going to solve any problems, but create more.

Let me put in human terms — you earn $24,000 and you spend $40,000 . You  can do it once or twice, sure, but eventually it will all come crashing down. Even a nation has a credit rating. Ours was AAA or better, so good that no one could ever contemplate anything else. And now we are in banana republic land, with no end in sight apparently. The congress is supposedly discussing whether to raise the debt ceiling — and will probably do it — which means the spending orgy can continue — which means the deficits will continue to pile up. Eventually, the repayment of the debt will be the largest budget item.

So what is all this money spent on? Well, fancy offices for busybodies in DC first of all. Do we really need these huge bureaucracies like the Departments of Energy and Commerce? What do they do? DOE supposedly is helping us provide energy to the nation — but by banning oil production until is it “100% safe” — except nothing is 100% safe — that’s the nature of well, nature. Things happen. So instead of having a response to any problems, the administration has apparently decided to ban the problem creating — so we have to import more oil than ever. We have enormous reserves in this nation. Not all oil, but natural gas, methane, coal, tar sands, and more. But wind power is not going to cut it, nor is some “green” policy.

Green-wise — sure, you can cut some usage here and there — I turn off unused lights, unplug things not used, combine trips and plan them better to save gasoline, etc, — but I do so to save my money for other things — and in an Adam Smith invisible hand way I help everyone else. But to lower our standard of living, and to give up what we have achieved, through regulations designed to wreck the energy sector is not a good idea.

If all the greenies wanted to do something they’d go plant a few million trees here and there, like in the vast acres of parking lots without a sprig growing in them. But the greenies don’t do that — instead they mandate that we use these funny light bulbs that cost too much, post their own environmental problems, and require mining here and importation of other materials, so as to have no one net good effect on the environment at all. Yes, get rid of the Department of Energy. It’s a waste of money. Supposedly $6 billion in ethanol subsidies are going to be cut — who knows? There’s no real operating budget for the government anymore, and agencies spend what they want anyway.

There’s plenty of other places to cut — for instance simplify the tax code. When I see the hundred page books of instructions required to do taxes I cringe. All that paper must be bought, the government printing presses spew out millions of these books — which are only good for a year, and are barely read, then go in the trash. What a boondoggle. Not to mention the 50,000+ pages of IRS code — which no one can figure out, not even teh IRS. When two or three IRS people come up with different amounts owed on the same set of numbers and facts, due to interpretation of the byzantine code this cannot be good.

And as our economy goes downhill, and we spend less, then China and other countries which buy our debt will also falter, so they’ll have less money to buy the bonds of debt — and this will spiral downward, like Greece is. In fact, that country is supposedly having its problems solved, but instead it is really pushing it off another year. Or a few months at most. The spending is not abated there, and what they borrow they’ll throw down the rat hole.

So don’t let the debt ceiling be raised, but live within our means. Don’t raise taxes, but cut them, and let people keep their own money. Stop the borrowing to pay today’s bills. And definitely don’t inflate the currency as teh Federal Reserve Board is doing.

But, now that the misery index is returning, perhaps someone up there in DC will figure it out. But in the short term we are shooting ourselves in the foot to buy better shoes. Nope, not going to work. What happens when no one will buy any more bonds? It’ll be a disaster, but cathartic, and who knows, maybe something good will come of it. Or maybe not.


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