Nine Trillion Dollars in the Hole?

August 22nd, 2009 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

Let me be the first to admit that I was and am all about change. Change has been the only consistent thing in my life.  Today, however, when the deficit projection was revealed to be nine trillion dollars over the next ten years, my non-economist mind began to wonder where this is all going?

My son-in-law is coming home in the next several days from a one year deployment that saw him in harms way in Iraq for the last eight months, and now we all sit with our fingers crossed that we will not be facing a similar deployment not too many months from now to Afghanistan.

How does one maintain two wars, keep soldiers stationed post-World War II in Italy, Germany, and Turkey, to name a few, and in South Korea plus continuing to remain in Iraq, and now push more and more into Afghanistan without bankrupting this country?  Is it possible that very very smart people are not capable of figuring out that in a down economy, the finances will continue to go south until we are, like the USSR in the Cold War, going broke?

When do we begin to see that the previous several administrations lead us into a mindset of borrowing against our future to the extent that we may not have a future, and when will we say, “Okay, enough, let’s stop feeding trillions into wars, and start trying to figure out the rest of this economic equation?”  It clearly is no longer a war on terror, but what is it?  If it is an economic war intended to create jobs a.k.a., the argument for or against the F-22 cuts, can’t we find a better way?

health_debate_specterThe people who seem the most upset about the health care debate are clearly the people who have healthcare, and the people who are least likely to speak out are the young women and children who have no coverage.  Not only will they not speak out, they also don’t, for the most part, vote.  If anyone believes that we are not in some way paying for the 46 or 47 million uninsured now, they are clearly delusional.  Ask a hospital CEO how much the facility charges for an aspirin or a Q-tip.  It’s not because these items cost so much more in a hospital setting, it’s because there is not enough money to go around when patient after patient presents at their doors without healthcare coverage.

We have acquiesced to AIG, to the very large banking institutions, to the automobile manufactures, and to numerous major financial houses.  We have placed billions of our tax dollars into their hands and have watched as their CEO’s, like that of AIG, continue to make millions in salaries with millions more in bonuses.  We have continued to wage wars that were clearly called “Republican Wars” during the last administration, and have no name now.  And we are watching our Social Security and Medicare accounts dwindle more quickly than anyone could ever have imagined.

Far be it from me to take a political stand on such complex economic matters, but it does seem very certain that our futures are tied inextricably together and, unless we slow down our expenditures, find ways to be more fiacally responsible, and, take care of our fellow man, we seem to be heading down a very destructive path.  Alan Greenspan’s admission of missing the economic targets of not too many years ago rings in my ears as he said, “I underestimated the greed.”  Maybe we have all underestimated the greed for too long.

As a professional giver of advice, let me conclude by saying that we can make this work. We can pull back the reins, slow the spending, and still move the economy.  It’s no different than managing our own personal economics; live below your means, save, take care of the necessities, and realize that not all belts can wrap around a 44″ waist. But all of this takes some serious discipline, something that our leaders seem to have been missing for a very long time.  We can’t continue to talk our way out of trouble;  serious, positive action is the key.


1 comment

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