WHY WE HAVE TO GUT FEDERAL SPENDING
I may not agree on a philosophical, emotional, political or economic basis, but as a practical matter, we simply have to eliminate all discretionary domestic spending, and drastically reduce Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security. This may lead our nation quickly to a corporate feudalism. But if there are no plausible alternatives to the declining status quo, we might as well embrace dystopia and make the worst (best) of it.
Let’s look at the reality that is early 21st Century America. There are many immutable facts and situations that cannot be changed. The powerful entities and people who control our nation’s politics and economy will resist any changes to the status quo – no matter how bad it might be for the vast majority of people. Instead, our wealthy elites and large corrupt crony corporations will do everything possible to keep their income streams, vast wealth and suffocating power. They have yet to resort to violence against dissenters, but that might come rather quickly if any strong opposition starts to emerge among the disenfranchised general populace.
We will never tax the wealthy more than we do now – and will probably continue to reduce their tax contributions in the future. We will not eliminate special tax credits, deductions, exemptions and preferences that permit our oligarchy to pay fewer taxes as a percentage of total income than the majority of people. To hope closing even a part of our huge federal budget deficit in this manner is simply delusional.
Our oligarchy owns and controls Congress and any Administration that is elected. Their legions of lobbyists write the laws and hand out the re-election money. Public goals and programs entrusted to the public sector are performed poorly or not at all. The same goals and programs are not met by the private sector either. In the end, we only have private self-interests and the public interest is damned.
More than half of Congress belongs to the wealthy class. We don’t have meaningful choices in our elections because both political parties depend upon the same wealthy cartels for campaign contributions. Candidates are distinguished on meaningless policy differences and on diversionary sexual and morality disputes.
Our national 24/7 info-entertainment media will never inform us of reality or the truth. It is merely a very sophisticated propaganda machine for our plutocracy. Most of the television, radio, cable and Internet outlets are controlled by a limited number of corporations. They exist to entertain and divert our attention to the trivial issues and onto our fabricated celebrities and wealthy class in order to push more spending nonsense onto the every-increasingly ignorant masses.
The media gets untold billions in advertising revenues during political campaign seasons. Why do you think it is impossible to require free advertising by all candidates on our publicly-regulated media? It’s just another wealth transfer from government to those groups that finance our pseudo-elections – not as a means to inform the general public.
Our educational system will never get better no matter how much money we spend or what reforms we enact. The power of our oligarchy depends upon controlling an increasingly pliable, unthinking, malleable, lazy, and ignorance populace. There will be fewer and fewer good jobs available as more and more are outsourced, robotized or digitized. Only the highly-indebted college-educated will be qualified to flip hamburgers at fast food eateries.
Future jobs for the majority of Americans will be low-paying, short-term, and without benefits or intellectual stimulation. As a result, overall tax revenues from a much-smaller “middle” class will continue to shrink. We also have a permanently unemployed and uneducated poor class that results in almost 50% of Americans not paying any income taxes. As a result, Federal spending must be brought in line with likely future revenues. And we cannot count on any additional tax payments from the wealthy or any cuts to our Military or national security budgets.
We will not successfully regulate, challenge or eliminate global tax havens where wealthy individuals and corporations stash about one-third of their wealth away from the tax reach of all national governments, including the U.S. That money is dedicated to future financial speculation and gambling, and as a hedge against impending global economic collapse. However this hidden wealth will never be used to improve the lives of 99% of the world’s population even though its creation is a direct result of the hard work and spending of the majority of people around the world. The global elites own and control most national governments and therefore there will be no meaningful efforts to collect taxes from them.
Not only is Federal debt astronomically high, but personal, household, business, state government, public pensions, and overall private debts are much larger, completely out of control, and unsustainable in the long run. Defaults are the principal way many households, businesses and individuals can walk away from debt. However now that total non-dischargeable student loan debt exceeds total credit card debt in the U.S., there will be even less money available for general spending or consumer goods. Until we realize that most of the public and private debts we have created during the past 30 years cannot be repaid and will have to be written off in full, we will all remain debt-serfs to the corrupt international banking and financial industry cartels.
In 2011, the wealthiest 10% of the population accounts for 40% of consumer spending in the U.S. This narrow-based consumer society will further depress overall business and employment since there will be insufficient demand for goods and services by the remaining 90% of the population. For over a year, overall consumer spending has been flat – or probably negative if real inflation is factored in – so future business growth and employment opportunities will not materialize. If Wal-Mart is hurting, eventually America will be as well. The famous American Middle Class is quickly devolving into the working poor class and it can no longer sustain our free-spending consumer-based economy.
Instead of being a future growth and employment area, healthcare costs will be a drag on the nation and employment will drop in this sector as it has in most others. The complex mish-mash public-private status-quo mess that masquerades as healthcare in the U.S. is just not sustainable financially by the public or private sectors. The vast majority of Americans will not be able to afford directly, through insurance, or by means of government programs the expensive healthcare system that exists today. We’re just going to be too poor to pay for anything beyond food, housing, transportation and basic utilities. Healthcare will become a luxury and therefore public programs that are essentially providing “luxuries” will not be funded from shrinking public funds.
The future of the U.S. and most nations across the globe will not be perpetual growth or even modest growth. Instead it will be marked by stagnation and even economic decline. Thus tax revenues from “growth” will be non-existent. Add in more frequent and highly disruptive climate changes, worsening food production, and higher global pollution from our excessive dependence upon finite fossil fuels, and there are no scenarios left that can sustain any significant economic growth and higher tax revenues.
We don’t have a real economy if every year it depends upon over $1.5 trillion in Federal Deficit Spending to create an illusion of GDP growth. We don’t have a viable private sector in the U.S. to replace this spending either. Too many of our large corporate enterprises are welfare queens – wholly dependent upon excessive military spending and tax subsidies that benefit a handful of large corporate cartels.
It may be that Democrats are deluding the Nation more than Republicans. Both parties agree that long-term Federal Deficits are a major problem for our nation but they cannot agree on what to cut. Both have agreed over the past 30 years that tax cuts for the wealthy are sacrosanct and are probably fixed national policy. Congress has no political will whatsoever to raise taxes on its economic masters.
Democrats foolishly believe in perpetual future growth and technological advancements that will pay for much of the future government Americans want. Democrats foolishly believe that more debt and public handouts will solve our immediate and future economic problems. Democrats cannot admit they are wrong and thus cannot come up with viable alternatives to their failed ideologies.
Republicans foolishly believe that more technology and the wealthy will provide our economic salvation. Republicans foolishly believe in Reaganomics, and that self-reliance and pursuing selfish greed will save society. Republicans also believe extreme austerity and suffering is good for most people. Republicans cannot admit they are wrong and thus cannot come up with viable alternatives to their failed ideologies.
Both parties have no imaginations and they cannot come up with new national and local priorities because they are stuck in defending and perpetuating the defunct status quo. Both parties gave up on funding new technologies, investing in new start-up companies, and rebuilding our transportation, communications and educational infrastructure. Both parties cannot prosecute Wall Street because their political futures depend upon keeping Wall Street content, highly profitable and in control. Both parties are utterly corrupt and beholden to the oligarchy plus a handful of monopolistic and neo-fascist crony business cartels. Both parties don’t give a damn about anyone or anything beyond winning the next election cycle.
Unless people realize the truth that we are all debt-serfs and disposable pawns to our oligarchy and plutocracy, things will continue to deteriorate. If the majority of people vote into office a completely new set of leaders, then there is some chance the status quo will change. An unregulated, untamed, and unfettered capitalism devolves into complete corruption and monopoly, and it kills off all free markets and competitive enterprises who have not bribed enough public servants. The implosion of corrupt capitalism will fall into a perverse blend of neo-feudalism and neo-fascism.
We are witnessing the end of Capitalism and representational democracy. Our human vices of greed, hubris, laziness, ignorance, and extreme narcissism will overwhelm our better natures and any efforts towards our collective well-being. Failed capitalism will continue its destructive endgame towards national collapse within the next few decades. At that endpoint, we won’t have a choice but to change drastically because all the old, disreputable and bankrupt ideologies from the left, right and center will be of no use to anyone.
In the meantime, our nation will not have the taxable income, wealth and jobs to pay for the public programs we want. Certain high-level income and wealth will be untouchable. Republicans may not wish to state these facts publicly but their policy proposals reflect this sad reality.
It was a pleasant and fun ride for many decades thinking we could have it all and that all individuals were valuable. The history of humanity has always been dominated by various warring political and economic dictatorships with the masses of people living short, miserable lives. It’s time we return to that perennial story and stop deluding ourselves that life on earth will be any better.
Submitted 5/31/11 by Marc Pascal ranting as always from sunny and warm Phoenix, Arizona.