Home Economics Who Is Going to Pay the National Debt?

Who Is Going to Pay the National Debt?


There was a wonderful line once in an old movie. A very savvy and skilled old billiards player, a hustler, was about to take the money from a slick and smart-alecky young man who had just ridden into town. And as the hustler chalked his cue stick, and leaned over the table to take his first shot, he calmly and quietly said: “Young feller, the sharp edge of fate is about to descend upon your red hick’s neck.”

The sharp edge of fate is about to descend upon all our red hicks’ necks if we do not wake up. The biggest problem in the country today, one far greater than health care reform or the stimulus, is deficit reduction. I don’t mean the deficit. That’s merely the problem. The deficit is really only the bill. The question, the real problem is–who is going to pay the bill? Your share of the bill, should you accept it, and you don’t have any choice and the share owed by each of the roughly 305,000,000 Americans, is $40,000.

Did you get $40,000 worth of benefit from the deficit? Did you even get lower cost and totally reliable health care? Under merely the first of George W. Bush’s tax cuts and merely in the first year of those tax cuts, every millionaire got about $40,000 in tax breaks. And now you owe $40,000. You may say that, well, you really don’t have to pay it. It is merely an accounting figure, something on some government piece of paper. But it isn’t.

Your government is holding meetings right now in Washington, planning how to get that $40,000 from you that you graciously gave to all those millionaires. What do you mean you didn’t give it to them? You voted for George W. Bush. You may have voted for Reagan. You voted for Republicans to run the House and the Senate. They weren’t encumbered by “rules” about filibusters. They went right ahead with simple majorities and cut taxes for the rich and for corporations. Our tax revenues are now what they were 50 or 60 years ago. And the government is bigger. And thank god it is or we would all be living in tent cities right now instead of, shamefully, a few million.

So the big financial boys are all in Washington, having flown in on their private jets, to try to figure out how we can keep the government from going broke. If we continue to run deficits every year like those we had during the Bush years, the country will go broke and there will be no money for anything for anyone…the disabled, the elderly, veterans..no one. So how are these very serious financial people planning to solve the problem? They aren’t. They can’t solve anything. They can merely chat about it and wring their hands.

Obama could solve it. Cut all earmarks and cut both Social Security and add something to Medicare co pays slightly, boost all income taxes, with a slight increase at the bottom and a bigger increase at the top. Tax products being imported to this country by American companies that manufacture abroad. Tax a myriad of things from second and third homes to sugared products to jewelry.

But it won’t be done. The House and Senate have the votes to get it done, but they are adhering to a policy that will keep them from getting health care reform and more jobs and better union rules and several million green alternative energy jobs…all legislation being blocked by the Neocon Republican Senate. All the Senate has to do is say that they don’t agree any longer to 60 votes or 59 votes, but that–enough is enough–we are going to pass legislation with a simple 51 vote majority. Then we would have all those things, health care, jobs, etc. that we need. And after those kinds of things begin to straighten out the economy and health care costs, President Obama could dictate the terms of the debate on deficit and debt reduction.

So, if the Democrats do not pass all these bills that the people need, using the majority that the people gave them, and forgetting old, outdated rules that are now being used merely to hold up the process of creating laws that the people want and need, then we will all fail. The Neocons will not point to their own obstruction…they have voted 100% against every piece of progressive legislation that they people sought–health care reform, the stimulus, green energy, the jobs bill, the fair labor organizing bill, and more. They will simply scream at the top of their lungs about how the Democrats could not get things done. And they would be right. We have the votes to get things done. We merely have to used them.

It is time to get serious about organizing one way or another. If you are very wealthy, you had better line up with Newt, and Rush Limbaugh, and Michael Savage and Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell. If you are not wealthy, you’d better find a Democratic group to join and push them to push Senators and House members to get the job done for the People.

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