March on Washington
BY: George Warren
For over two years now, I have been trying to make you mad– mad enough to march on Washington.
Remember, that is what it took for our African-American friends to win their much deserved civil rights. Regretfully, it took them 189 years. We don’t have another 189 years left.
President Andrew Jackson last paid off the Federal debt. Hurrah! In the last 50 years, the budget has been balanced only six times. And that includes LBJ’s trick of including Social Security taxes as Budget Revenue. Without those funds, it has been balanced only once. The succeeding Presidents through Bill Clinton built debt up to about $5.6 trillion. George W. Bush doubled it to over $11 trillion in eight years. Barrack Obama has added another $1.7 trillion in just three months. I remind you that one trillion is one million times 1 million.
Thanks to LBJ’s trick, 81 percent of Federal Revenue is now made up of personal income tax (45 percent) and Social Security tax (36 percent). The top 20 percent of households pay 86 percent of all personal income taxes, while the lower 80 percent pay more Social Security than income tax. And the lowest 20 percent of households don’t pay income tax, but actually get checks from the government if they file a tax return.
Those of us who remember World War II, remember rationed sugar, meat, coffee, gasoline, tires, etc. We remember stomping tin cans and saving them for the war effort. We remember planting Victory gardens at home. We remember saving pennies to buy War bonds at grammar school. At the end of that war, our federal debt was an aberration at 122 percent of annual national domestic production. Today, it is back to nearly 100 percent, and projections are that without significant changes, it will be 350 percent by 2050. As late as 1990, foreign creditors held only 19 percent of our debt. Today, they hold 49 percent. What is going to happen when China and Japan say they can’t loan us any more and they are ready for payback?
Let me try a new tack. If you have a grandson, as I do, his pro-rata share of today’s total unfunded Federal government liability is already $184,000. When we die, his share goes up accordingly. That is because today’s $11 trillion national debt is just the tip of the iceberg which sank Titanic. The US government’s total obligations, including unfunded Social Security, Medicare and sundry other obligations, is $56.4 trillion. To put that in perspective, our total annual national domestic production is only about $15 trillion. The total net worth of all Americans together is only $51.5 trillion.
In 2008, 49 percent of the Federal budget went to pay Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and debt interest. Believe it or not, Medicare is in much worse shape than Social Security. Social Security’s unfunded obligations are only $6.6 trillion, while Medicare’s unfunded obligations are $36.6 trillion; or six times as much. In 1968, the first three only accounted for 17 percent of the budget. Now, they amount to 41 percent. The other eight percent is debt interest. I am on Social Security and Medicare, although I refuse to participate in George Bush’s drug benefits; which added another $8 trillion in unfunded liability. But it got him re-elected, where his daddy had failed. I have paid Social Security tax since 1951. In 1960, 5.1 workers paid in for one retired worker. Today, 3.3 workers pay in for every one retiree. The baby boom retirement begins this year. Projections are that by 2040, only 2.1 workers will be paying for every one retiree.
During the last 40 years, the annual budget deficit has averaged less than 2-1/2 percent of our total annual national production. But current projections of revenue and spending totals show that it could reach a whopping 23 percent of annual national production within the next 40 years. Unless we change course, the government’s only answer will be to inflate our way out of the problem. Print more money with no backing. When this happens, expect a loaf of bread and a quart of milk to cost $50 each. Don’t think it can’t happen. It happened in Germany after World War I.
I am not making all this up. David Walker, former head of the US Government General Accounting Office (our internal CPA) spent the last two years making speeches nationally trying to wake us up. Finally, he quit to head the Peter G Petersen Foundation, where he can speak more freely about possible solutions. I urge you to go to his website, www.pgpf.org, and download his 15 page report, “State of the Nation.” Print it out, place it on your bedside table next to the Bible, and read it often. It won’t be in the President’s State of the Union speech.
Thankfully our Congressman, Dr. Paul Broun, votes against every unconstitutional measure they bring up in Washington, but he is only one of 535, including the US Senators. He often stands alone and he needs help. The average national legislator just wants to remain in power, and he figures the way to insure re-election is to promise more benefits and less taxes. Unfortunately, we have had itching ears to hear it. It has worked too long. Wake up America!
I propose a taxpayers’ “March on Washington” for July 4, 2010, just 120 days before the next national election. There is plenty of time to plan it, and it will be close enough to the election to bring the heat.
PRINTED IN THE APRIL 23, 2009 EDITION