“I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principles of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale”

Thomas Jefferson

 

We live in a world that has no limits or boundaries.  When applied to matters of invention or art, this is a most favorable circumstance. The essence of the American Dream is best taught from a rhetorical sense and not in literal terms.  To say that I am going to be a brain surgeon is a noble quest, but until someone spends the 15 or so years and several hundred thousand dollars it takes to be a brain surgeon, the dream is idealistic, impractical, and improbable.  The time is inflexible.  The money is where the dilemma occurs.  At the moment it cost about $250-300,000.  In a few years that number might double or triple.  Well?  Okay you say you will borrow it.  How much is the interest on $300,000 over twenty or thirty years going to make that number?

Wouldn’t it be nice if a brain-surgeon-to be could approach it the same way the government views debt and loans?  Here are some revealing facts about how the government does it:

12 Scary Debt Facts for 2012

By Jill Schlesinger | CBS MoneyWatch – Thu, Feb 16, 2012 4:44 PM EST

 

1. The U.S. national debt on Jan. 1, 1791, was just $75 million dollars. Today, the U.S. national debt rises by that amount about once an hour.

2. Our nation began its existence in debt after borrowing money to finance the Revolutionary War. President Andrew Jackson nearly eliminated the debt, calling it a “national curse.” Jackson railed against borrowing, spending and even banks, for that matter, and he tried to eliminate all federal debt. By Jan. 1, 1835, under Jackson, the debt was just $33,733.

3. When World War II ended, the debt equaled 122 percent of GDP (GDP is a measure of the entire economy). In the 1950s and 1960s, the economy grew at an average rate of 4.3 percent a year and the debt gradually declined to 38 percent of GDP in 1970. This year, the Office of Budget and Management expects that the debt will equal nearly 100 percent of GDP.

4. Since 1938, the national debt has increased at an average annual rate of 8.5 percent. The only exceptions to the constant annual increase over the last 62 years were during the administrations of Clinton and Johnson. (Note that this is the rate of growth; the national debt still existed under both presidents.) During the Clinton presidency, debt growth was almost zero. Johnson averaged 3 percent growth of debt for the six years he served (1963-69).

5. When Ronald Reagan took office, the U.S. national debt was just under $1 trillion. When he left office, it was $2.6 trillion. During the eight Regan years, the US moved from being the world’s largest international creditor to the largest debtor nation.

6. The U.S. national debt has more than doubled since the year 2000.

Under President Bush: At the end of calendar year 2000, the debt stood at $5.629 trillion. Eight years later, the federal debt stood at $9.986 trillion.

Under President Obama: The debt started at $9.986 trillion and escalated to $15.3 trillion, a 53 percent increase over three years.

7. FY 2013 budget projects a deficit of $901 billion in 2013, representing 5.5 percent of GDP, down from a deficit of $1.33 trillion in FY 2012, which was the fourth consecutive year of more than $1 trillion dollar deficits.

8. The U.S. national debt rises at an average of approximately $3.8 billion per day.

9. The US government now borrows approximately $5 billion every business day.

10. A trillion $10 bills, if they were taped end to end, would wrap around the globe more than 380 times. That amount of money would still not be enough to pay off the U.S. national debt.

11. The debt ceiling is the maximum amount of debt that Congress allows for the government. The current debt ceiling is $16.394 trillion effective Jan. 30, 2012.

12. The U.S. government has to borrow 43 cents of every dollar that it currently spends, four times the rate in 1980.

Do you suppose a brain surgeon has the option to simply verbalize his/her feelings about the monthly loan payment, while neglecting to write the check?  Worst case scenario is wage garnishment, and IRS problems which will remove the surgeon’s ability to pay malpractice insurance, or maintain an office and staff.  The mortality rate for brain surgery surely must be higher than other surgical procedures and the loss of malpractice insurance would probably put the Brain Doc out of business. Additionally, no one does brain surgery by themselves so the staff and the office for follow-up consultation are also vital.  The surgeon will have to pay, willingly or not, in order to continue practicing brain surgery.

Oh, would that the same ideology be practiced where it comes to National Debt.  If the surgeon does not pay, he gets his wage garnished and probably loses his staff and office. If wage garnishment or the loss of office were real and true threats to those who govern us, then we might not owe so damn much money!

How is it that we live in the greatest country in the world and are led by nincompoops? Since 1900 only two presidents have successfully improved the national debt.  Johnson slowed the increase to but three percent, and Clinton stopped it from increasing at all.  Imagine if we learned from their examples and actually did something about the problem.

We owe a lot of money and perhaps we should look at it the way the brain surgeon looks at his/her bills.  If I do not pay my bills I don’t get to cut open anybody’s head. If our leaders do not deal with our bills they don’t get to govern.

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