THINKing outside the box

I’m so glad that I’m not an economist. If I was, I’d have to spend all my days convincing most Americans that even though their paychecks are shrinking, their homes are being foreclosed, gas will never again go below threedollars a gallon, they’re going to have to work longer and harder just to stay where they’re at, and it’s going to get a hell of a lot worse before it gets better, our economy is “fundamentally sound”. Even worse, I’d have to spend my nights dreaming up new ways to twist the arithmetic to prove that financing growth through the acquisition of more and more debt is somehow a good thing.

Nope, I’m just a regular guy that knows if I don’t have the money in my checking account, the bank stops honoring my checks; when my credit card limits are reached and I can’t make my minimum payments, my cards get cancelled; and if I continue to live beyond my means I end up living on the street. My question is, how does the government keep doing it? It spends money it doesn’t have, gives charitable contributions to major corporations in the form of tax breaks and incentives, subsidizes non-competitive industries that should have been allowed to die, and wastes billions of dollars through corruption, cronyism, rigged bidding, and plain stupidity. Every tax cut made means less money to pay for programs. Every bailout and band-aid tax rebate check is financed from borrowed money, so the debt ceiling gets raised and the budget deficit gets deeper.

Government leaders go on about “national security”, diverting billions to finance an ill-advised war and restrict our personal freedoms, but don’t seem to realize that turning us into the largest debtor nation on earth is potentially more dangerous for our country that any terrorist attack that could be mounted against us.

We have been borrowing and spending ourselves into a decline from greatness.

While we expend our national treasure overseas and mismanage our economy at home, our global competitors- a resurgent Russia, the People’s Republic of China and the cash bloated sheikdoms of the Middle East are quietly laughing as we single-handedly try to manage the world, leveraging away our greatness, while they collect the interest.

We need to make a paradigm shift in our perception of the world, on our ability to influence events beyond our borders and the hidden costs of our current policies. We must begin the process of reversing the increasingly rapid slide into international penury.

Our economy is still strong, but it is not impregnable, nor is its ability to fund all of the needs of it citizenry limitless. The process is going to be painful.

It will certainly mean a decline in growth and a large readjustment in virtually every sector of the economy. The poor will find less, the wealthy will have to give more, but that is the price we must pay for allowing this mess to grow to the dimensions it has.

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