Monday, January 7, 2013

Sometimes a Ceiling is a Cliff

The dust has settled now.  A week has gone past since our esteemed Congress voted to avoid going over the Fiscal Cliff; raising taxes on the wealthy, permanently (yeah, right!) fixing the tax rates for some huge percentage of "hard-working families who are hurting" and failing, miserably, to decrease spending and start lowering the national debt.  I think Mark Twain said it best, "Suppose you were an idiot.  And suppose you were a member of Congress.  But then I repeat myself."

This piece of legislation is a travesty.  It is a joke.  It is the beginning of the next debate.  In less than three months Congress will be at it again, arguing over whether to raise the debt ceiling so America can continue to pay its bills.  Democrats will say, hell yes, and Republicans will say, hell no.  The outcome will be the same as long as the Senate is controlled by fiscally irresponsible men and women who care more about appeasing the electorate and special interest groups than reducing the financial burden we are shifting onto our children and grandchildren.  The new legislation includes some $ 67.9 billion in new PORK for special interests.  Charlotte Motor Speedway and other NASCAR track owners will get some $ 70 million in tax cuts, renewable energy companies (wind, solar, bio-fuel) will get over $ 116 million....oh, but that is only this year.  The 10-year cost to support these alternative energy projects, some of which are worthwhile and some of which are not, is $ 12.2 billion!

It goes from the sublime to the ridiculous.  $ 430 million to Hollywood producers to film their movies and TV shows in the U.S.  $ 222 million over two years to send the tax revenues collected from rum producers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands back so they can increase production....of rum.  Must be the favorite drink of some Congressman.  (Now if we sent the taxes back to Lynchburg, TN so they could make more Jack Daniels, that would make more sense)  Here is one of my personal favorites.  How about $ 15 million for asparagus growers who have been hit hard by competitors from Peru?  PORK, PORK, PORK!

Let's look at this another way.  Consider these examples I was recently sent by a close friend which puts our debt problem in perspective:

* U.S. Tax revenue: $ 2,170,000,000,000
* Fed budget: $ 3,820,000,000,000
* New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
* National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
* Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

Let's now remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a household budget:

* Annual family income: $ 21,700
* Money the family spent: $ 38,200
* New debt on the credit card: $ 16,500
* Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
* Total budget cuts so far: $ 38.50

Kind of makes it real, doesn't it.  Here's another way to look at the Debt Ceiling:
Let's say, you come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood....and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.  What do you think you should do ......Raise the ceilings, or remove the crap ??
Unless we face the music, unless we get our elected representatives to do the right thing and consider serious debt reduction and not just a Band-Aid tm that taxes only 1% of the population, this debt ceiling will fall down and crush us just as if we had gone over the cliff...and worse.

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