Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Special Comment- State of the Union Discussion

The United States can sustain an 'unsustainable' burden of debt indefinitely. We are not Ireland or Greece. Even with mind-boggling debt, there is no one who has any leverage or incentive to cause the U.S. to go into bankruptcy. If China decided to put the United State in default, it would crash the United States' economy along with the world's by devaluing the dollar thus destroying China's marketplace.

It is still not wise to continue to run huge deficits. Deficit spending on a temporary basis can be a very good thing. In fact Deficit spending in the past few years has kept the U.S. and global economies from completely crashing. It will continue to be advisable to create jobs for upcoming years as well. However, indefinite deficit spending shouldn't continue. The simple reason is that eventually the interest on the debt would become so great that taxes would have to go up and there would be no benefit to the populous.

There are two things in the budget that dominate all else and until they are addressed for real there will be no progress towards a budget surplus. Defense spending and Entitlements are areas that politicians as a general rule are afraid to touch. Old people vote and cutting the military is seen as unpatriotic and will get the rednecks out to vote against you. But the truth is 'discretionary' spending is basically the flea on the elephant's back. Yes, you can freeze it or even cut it, but that's not where real progress will be made.

I don't really understand why the defense budget needs to be so big. Who is the real threat any more? The Cold War ended ages ago. There is no hostile nation that is a legitimate military rival to the United States in anyway. There just isn't the need for the massive budget anymore. It's like continuing to buy engagement rings once you've gotten married. The closest thing the U.S. has to an enemy is just a band of disorganized criminals. Sending loads or our troops to look for them isn't very smart as it provides them an easy way and really the only way they are currently able to attack Americans. The United States no longer needs to maintain such an expensive military anymore. The U.S. military is often a force for good, but it doesn't need such a budget to keep that role. I would suggest at least a 25% cut to military spending.

Entitlement programs have basically turned into unfunded mandates the U.S. government has placed on itself. Social safety nets are very important to advanced civilization. I think there needs to be an increase in the funding from payroll taxes. Currently the rate is 6.2% up to just above $106,000 of income. I believe that rate should be extended to $200,000 and then the rate should be double on all income after $200,000. Politicians are choosing not to address the reality of the situation. These programs will be a huge burden on the deficit and will cease to exist unless action is taken to make them viable.

Health Care Reform is still important. The package passed last year was a bit of a step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go. Any attempts to repeal last years bill are not only unwise, but is a clear refusal to accept the political realities of the moment. It still needs to go further. Under no circumstance should the Medical industry be allowed to remain entirely private. As long as that is the case, Health Care is about profit not about actual Health Care. Male Pattern Baldness will be a bigger deal than Malaria. Plastic Surgery will be more important than finding new ways to fight MRSA after any number surgeries that are actually important to ones health. Even the biggest Capitalist should release that things should not work that way. Prescription Drug costs shouldn't rise just because a company has the patten. Money should not dictate quality of care. Frivolous things shouldn't be given greater importance than serious problems, because they are more profitable. This country needs universal health care and at least a Government-run health insurance option that is not about profit.

The biggest things that needs to happen is the creation of jobs. The best way for us to do that is a massive investment in America's infrastructure. Roads need to be made more efficient. Bridges need to be improved, renovated and rebuilt. Light Rails can be built to help reduce the dependency on personal cars for commuting. The Energy Grid needs to be updated. The potential of the Internet as a tool needs to be fulfilled. These things and more can be used to create jobs temporarily and permanently while strengthening the nation.

Thanks for reading and please comment.


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