A decade and a half ago, both of us served on President Clinton´s Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, the forerunner to President Obama´s recent National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. In 1994 we predicted that, unless something was done to control runaway entitlement spending, Medicare and Social Security would eventually go bankrupt or confront severe benefit cuts. Eighteen years later, nothing has been done. Why? The usual reason is that entitlement reform is the third rail of American politics. That explanation presupposes voter demand for entitlements at any cost, even if it means bankrupting the nation.
So the first order of business should be letting ALL the Bush Tax Cuts expire and allow everyone to share in the sacrifice. The second order is for the House republicans and the GOP governors to begin leading the country. Let Obama be a VERY famous lame duck while those who are willing to tell the truth and act take the lead. We must move toward fiscal sanity and prosperity.
This information is nothing new, I read this and hear it several times a year. Yet it just keeps getting worse. Just like a runaway train, barreling toward a broken bridge. With an engineer who thinks giving it full speed will get it across. Too fast to jump off. God help us all.
$16t is the Treasury debt. That is the easy part. The numbers are firm. The creditors are identified.
A far larger problem is promises. Social Security is a promise. The government could break the promise. The rage of the people would be immense but the government´s debt would be reduced as if by magic.
Government pensions are promises. Change the laws and promises can go away.
And last but not least. There is government associated debt. The Postal Service is 100% a creature of Washington. But what of its debts? Must Washington pay those? Or those of the FDIC if it collapses? Or a hundred other public corporations.
The 14th Amendment says the Public Debt shall not be questioned. But exactly what is the public debt?
The top nine largest U.S. banks alone hold about $227 trillion in toxic credit default swaps and mortgage-backed securities.
Federal, state and municipal mandates - Social Security, Veterans Affairs, Medicare, Pensions etc. - amount to $221 trillion and there is no money to pay these bills.
Then there´s our foreign debt - that drop-in-the-bucket $16 trillion.
If you´re having a hard time wrapping your mind around these numbers, don´t feel bad - no one can really grasp these amounts. But rest assured: our monetary system is broken and our currency is backed by debt. We just haven´t really started to understand or feel the repercussions of this just yet. Stay tuned.
This is an important read - for members of Congress and those who keep after them to do what they are supposed to do.
The actual liabilities of the federal government—including Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees´ future retirement benefits—already exceed $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion. Nothing like that figure is used in calculating the deficit. In reality, the reported budget deficit is less than one-fifth of the more accurate figure.
Why haven´t Americans heard about the titanic $86.8 trillion liability from these programs? One reason: The actual figures do not appear in black and white on any balance sheet. But it is possible to discover them. Included in the annual Medicare Trustees´ report are separate actuarial estimates of the unfunded liability for Medicare Part A (the hospital portion), Part B (medical insurance) and Part D (prescription drug coverage).
The actual numbers do appear in black and white, but not on the balance sheet. O&Co and the Congress are either flying blind or deliberately hiding the true situation from the American public.
The only thing that will bring all of this to a screeching halt is for the U.S. government to send out IOUs to the actual beneficiaries of the entitlements...the American non-taxpayer. Send grandma an IOU for SS, tell grandpa to use an IOU for his next doctor´s visit and see what happens. The American people won´t get it until they DON´T get it.
The answer to the Baby Hope murder mystery was all in the family. A cousin of the toddler brutally murdered two decades ago was arrested Saturday — marking a dramatic turn in one of the city’s most notorious cold cases. Conrado Juarez, 52, confessed to killing the girl who was identified for the first time as 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. Juarez, a dishwasher from the Bronx, told cops he sexually assaulted and then smothered the tot at his sister’s home in Astoria, Queens. The monster stuffed the girl´s lifeless body into a cooler, Kelly said.
"The world should know Utah is open for business," said Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, after he signed a contract with the Federal government that would allow Utah to open its five national parks by Saturday. The deal requires Utah to pay to a total of $1.67 million for the 10 days, $166,572 a day, so eight sites – including five national parks, two national monuments and a national recreation area – can reopen as early as Saturday morning. The deal came after Herbert wrote a letter to President Obama on Tuesday, requesting that Utah´s national parks and monuments be allowed to open.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson left team practice on Thursday to be with his critically-injured young son, according to reports. TMZ reported that Peterson´s two-year-old son was brutally beaten by his mother´s boyfriend in Sioux Falls, S.D., Wednesday evening. Emergency responders found the child unresponsive at the apartment where he lives and rushed him to a local hospital, where doctors found evidence of abuse. Twenty-seven-year-old Joseph Patterson was arrested and charged with aggravated felony assault and battery of an infant. Peterson´s son suffered severe head injuries, local law enforcement officials told TMZ.
The Air Force’s two star general in charge of the wing responsible for its 450 nuclear missiles has been fired, a defense official confirmed to ABC News. Maj. Gen. Michael Carey is being removed from command of the 20th Air Force, the official said. That command is responsible for the three wings that maintain control of the 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles scattered in missile silos across the northern plains. Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, made the decision because of a “loss of trust and confidence,” according to the official. No other details about the firing
WASHINGTON -- Officials tell The Associated Press that the Air Force is firing the two-star general in charge of all of its nuclear missiles.Maj. Gen. Michael Carey is being removed from command of the 20th Air Force, which is responsible for three wings of intercontinental ballistic missiles -- a total of 450 missiles at three bases across the country.The Air Force is citing "loss of trust and confidence" in Carey´s leadership, but the exact reason for the firing was not immediately clear. The decision was disclosed to the AP by officials speaking on condition of anonymity because it has not
For months now, the GOP has been held hostage by a faction of its party that deluded itself into believing President Obama might be rolled on his signature health-care law. Witness now an equally grand delusion on the Democratic side, one that President Obama nurtures at his peril. According to Democrats, their steadfast refusal to negotiate on the government shutdown or the debt ceiling is rooted in a belief that now is the moment to "break" the GOP "fever." Democrats are furious that Republicans today use every Washington deadline to extract a spending concession—and insist they must be broken of that
MOSCOW--Russian investigators said on Wednesday they found drugs aboard a Greenpeace ship that was used in a protest against offshore Arctic drilling and would press new charges against some of the 30 people being held for alleged piracy. In addition to drugs, the Investigative Committee said searches of the Arctic Sunrise, which was boarded by Russian coast guards after the September 18 protest at the Prirazlomnaya oil rig, had revealed equipment with potential military uses. It also said investigators were trying to establish which of those being held were responsible for what it called attempts to ram coast guard boats,
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, BRUNEI -- Secretary of State John F. Kerry apologized Wednesday for President Obama´s absence at a gathering that has become a testing ground for U.S. outreach to Southeast Asian nations rattled by China’s growing assertiveness. Obama was supposed to lead a special U.S. session with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, many of whose members are nervous about China’s intentions but also reluctant to appear to side against a powerful neighbor and trading partner. “I bring you both President Obama’s sincerest greetings and his apologies for not being able to be here,”Kerry said at the beginning of
An NYPD undercover detective has now been arrested in connection with an attack on a family in an SUV by a group of motorcyclists, reports CBS News´ John Miller. The officer is expected to be charged with criminal mischief for allegedly banging on and breaking the rear window of the SUV. The detective waited four days before coming forward to the NYPD and he allegedly made false statements about his involvement, reports Miller. The AP identified the officer as Wojciech Braszczok, and said he turned himself in to face riot and criminal mischief charges. He was expected to make a court appearance
The revamped $100 bill costs 12.5 cents to produce — a 60% increase over the 7.8 cents it cost to print the older version of the bill. The government has printed 3.5 billion of the new $100 bills, which it began delivering to financial institutions Tuesday. How soon customers will see the new bills depends on their distance from a regional Fed office, demand, and a few other factors. Among the reasons it’s more expensive than the older currency: Its new security features, which help prevent counterfeiting. For one, there’s a blue 3-D ribbon running through the center of the
An NYPD officer who was on a deep undercover assignment when a violent fight erupted between a group of motorcyclists and a man driving a Range Rover in Manhattan is seen on new video punching the SUV, shattering its rear window, NBC 4 New York confirms.(Snip)The video that just recently surfaced shows the undercover smashing the window, but not participating in the assault. He rides off when the driver is pulled from the SUV, according to a person familiar with the investigation. The video has not been made public. Sources say the undercover was not truthful with investigators about his role.
Usually the Asia-Pacific leadership interactions are a muted affair, with a lot to do with photo shoots and endorsing the paperwork that their respective emissaries prepare. But this time around at the Indonesian resort of Bali, the United States president was badly missed. In an era where Russia has gained a major diplomatic victory over its archrival by brokering a thaw with Syria, the absence of Barack Obama owing to the financial mess at home underscored the power limitations of Washington in leading from the front. The APEC meet was, thus, a solo affair to be led by Chinese President Xi
Every week during halftime of Sunday Night Football, Bob Costas gets to recite a personal essay about whatever hot topic strikes his fancy. This Sunday he chose the Redskins name, and spent a few minutes offering his commentary on the subject. Here is his statement in full. With Washington playing Dallas here tonight, it seems like an appropriate time to acknowledge the ongoing controversy about the name, “Redskins.” Let’s start here: there’s no reason to believe that owner Daniel Snyder, or any official or player from his team, harbors animus towards Native Americans, or chooses to disrespect them. This is
The rights of a transgendered Colorado high school student are being put ahead of girls the boy harasses in the girls bathroom. A male student at Florence (CO) High School who claims to be transgendered has caused controversy by harassing female students in the girls room, but will not face any discipline – this despite vocal protests from the girls’ parents. ‘The boy’s rights as a transgender trump their daughters’ privacy rights,’ the school has told concerned parents, according to CBN. Unidentified because all involved are minors, the students are being threatened with removal from sports teams or even hate crime charges
The Los Angeles Times headline said it all: "Rep. Paul Ryan Fails to Close Republican Divide." When this became Ryan´s job, or whether his now "controversial" Wall Street Journal op-ed was even an attempt at doing that, is anyone´s guess. But once again, Republicans have decided to cannibalize themselves viciously and needlessly instead of uniting over common goals. To be clear, the divide on the right isn´t over policy. No Republican I´ve met thinks Obamacare is good legislation. No one is suggesting capitulation on the debt ceiling. Everyone wants spending cuts, entitlement reform and deficit reduction. Where we´re divided is over tactics. Incidentally, Ryan
It’s a buyer’s market for President Barack Obama. With House and Senate Republicans preparing competing proposals to end the government shutdown and avert a default on the nation’s debt, Obama hasn’t shown any inclination to jump at the first offer. The plan House Republicans presented to the White House on Thursday night wasn’t enticing enough, and there is a sense in Washington that the GOP’s scramble to avoid further political pain from this latest fiscal crisis will give Obama plenty of opportunity to define the terms of a settlement. At this point, White House officials won’t even describe
When I have described the well-considered, coherent political and economic strategies of the conservative white South, as I have done here, here and here, I am sometimes been accused of being a “conspiracy theorist.” But one need not believe that white-hooded Dragons and Wizards are secretly coordinating the actions of Southern conservative politicians from a bunker underneath Stone Mountain in Georgia to believe that a number of contemporary policies — from race-to-the-bottom economic policies to voter disfranchisement and attempts to decentralize or privatize federal social insurance entitlements — serve the interests of those who promote them, who tend to be
Ted Cruz’s “aw shucks” act is wearing thin. The Republican senator from Texas likes to pretend he is above the fray of Washington bickering, focused on large issues and too big to engage character assassination. But the reality is that Cruz is the Republican king of nasty attacks. He explodes rhetorical nuclear bombs on his opponents, only to feign outrage when his victims respond in kind, or in many cases, with relative spitballs. Take his defund Obamacare effort. The tactic to eliminate President Obama’s health care law had zero prospect of success, which Cruz undoubtedly knew despite what he sold the conservative
The prince of the pulpit may have a revolution on his hands. Four upstart clergymen have invited more than 100 churches to knock Rev. Al Sharpton off his Harlem political throne. Speak Out Say It Loud, headquartered at Mount Neboh Baptist Church on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., is a new coalition of black ministers determined to create a unified African-American power base with citywide clout. Mount Neboh pastor Johnnie Green, 51, said Sharpton has neglected black New York while pursuing national fame and acclaim. “While (Sharpton) is jet-setting around the country, people are going to our churches saying they don’t have money to eat,”
HONOLULU — A unit of the U.S. Department of Defense has been holding so-called "arrival ceremonies" for seven years, with an honor guard carrying flag-draped coffins off of a cargo plane as though they held the remains of missing American service men and women returning that day from old battlefields. After NBC News raised questions about the arrival ceremonies, the Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that no honored dead were in fact arriving, and that the planes used in the ceremonies often couldn´t even fly but were towed into position. The solemn ceremonies at a military base in Hawaii are a sign of the
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) attended a rally protesting the closure of the World War II Memorial, according to reports. The lawmakers and the former governor – and 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee – joined a crowd that removed barricades at the memorial and chanted “tear down these walls,” according to Washington, D.C., radio station WTOP. (Snip) The presence of a Confederate flag at the protest, which later moved to the White House, sparked an uproar on Twitter.
As the government shutdown enters a third week, a group of veterans and tea party groups protested their anger by storming the World War II memorial in Washington, DC. The protest Sunday started at the World War II memorial before moving to the National Mall and eventually winding up outside the White House. ´Tear down these walls,´ the crowd chanted. Protesters also sang ´God bless America´ and other patriotic songs as they entered the memorial plaza. The memorial has become a political symbol in the bitter fight between Democrats and Republicans over who is at fault since the shutdown began. Earlier rallies have
WASHINGTON — In March, Henry Chao, the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace, told industry executives that he was deeply worried about the Web site’s debut. “Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience,” he told them. Two weeks after the rollout, few would say his hopes were realized. For the past 12 days, a system costing more than $400 million and billed as a one-stop click-and-go hub for citizens seeking health insurance has thwarted the efforts of millions to simply log in. The growing national outcry has deeply embarrassed the White House, which
As Cory Booker looks set to win the junior Senate seat in New Jersey Wednesday, his supposed neighbors in Newark say Mayor Booker doesn’t live in the Gateway City. Multiple residents of Newark told The Daily Caller that the longtime mayor doesn’t live at any of the addresses he has claimed as home. The mayor is believed to live in New York even though he is registered to run for New Jersey’s special senate election. Booker, who filed to run for the U.S. Senate from a B.O. Box in Newark, is registered to vote at 435 Hawthorne Avenue but his