The Dawn of a New Age In the United States
Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, after a tumultuous year of political theater, the Age of Obama has dawned.
With legislative success however tarnished by rancor and dissent, the hopes and dreams of generations of Progressives have been fulfilled. The trifecta of Social Security, Medicare, and the first installment of Universal Healthcare are now the law of the land.
Based on a common set of financial principles and an unshakable faith in the wisdom of government the productive power of the young, the healthy, the successful, and generations yet unborn are now fully lashed to the yoke of redistribution. The poor, the old, the infirm, the government employee, the union worker, the dropout, and the slothful have cause to rejoice as their party has delivered the goods.
Or so they think. Let's take a quick look at the numbers.
According to the most recent Social Security and Medicare trustees report, the unfunded liabilities of these New Deal and Great Society programs exceed $100 trillion dollars. Add the unfunded Medicaid mandates imposed on the states along with the pension liabilities of millions of federal, state, and local government employees and the total becomes almost impossible to comprehend.
Try this on for size. If you confiscated the entire Gross Domestic Product of the US for ten years you couldn't cover all these liabilities.
Confiscate the GDP? That's Communism! OK, how about confiscating half the GDP? Too late, that money is already spoken for.
Combined Federal, State, and Local government spending is now at 37.5% of GDP and heading north. The European Union, our Progressive model, has already passed the 50% mark.
Note that these confiscatory levels of taxation can't even cover this year's spending. None of the money already being diverted from the economy is being used to shore up the aforementioned liabilities. These not only remain but are swelled by annual deficits.
Get the picture? Obama just handed the American people an empty gift box. Good luck collecting.
FDR promised that Social Security would never lead to runaway spending. LBJ promised the same for Medicare and Medicaid. President Obama is promising that his Universal Healthcare program will not only pay for itself but will generate savings that can be used to reduce the deficit.
The American people cannot possibly be so stupid as to take these political promises at face value. Somehow supporters must imagine that all these bills can be paid for by "the rich" while 95% of Americans enjoy tax cuts and subsidies. As citizens are invited to stick their hands ever deeper into their neighbors' pockets, a majority of voters must believe they are going to get more than they have to give.
And why shouldn't they? It's worked so far hasn't it? Our progressive income tax system has reached the point where half the population pays no income tax at all. What do they care if tax rates have to go up? And today's retirees, like Bernie Madoff's early clients, have already collected many times more than they paid in to Social Security and Medicare. Their thanks? A parting gift of consuming 30% of the nation's healthcare budget in their final year of life.
FDR and LBJ died before anyone had to deliver on the promises they made. The problem for Obama is that his predecessor's bills are coming due just as he is piling on more.
Social security recently passed its high water mark. The program now and forevermore will be paying out more than it takes in. In order to write these checks, the Social Security Administration has to redeem the vast mountain of IOUs it received when former Congressmen plundered every last penny of the so called "trust fund." There is only one place today's Congress can go to redeem these IOUs, and that is to the general taxpayer.
Kill the rich and eat them, there are too few to cover all these bills. The Age of Obama will certainly bring us equality. We will all be equally broke.
Meanwhile one form of inequality continues to grow unchecked, unnoticed as the media devotes all its energy to chasing banker bonuses. Studies show that government workers now get $1.45 in pay and benefits for every $1 received by comparable workers in the private sector. This should come as no surprise. While private sector unions have largely bankrupted their employers, save those like General Motors that have been nationalized, public sector unions have no such limitations. Representing a solidly Progressive voting bloc, the swelling ranks of public employees can be counted on to pass their bills along to the rest of us as they demand ever larger chunks of a shrinking pie.
This tragedy of abject profligacy can end only one way. Watch the drama unfolding in the land where democracy was born. German charity might allow the Greeks to enjoy their Progressive lifestyles a bit longer but eventually the disease of runaway social democracy will bankrupt the rest of Europe too.
Who wants to bet whether the Chinese will continue financing us long enough to be drawn down this rat hole of self-inflicted fiscal immolation?