Read Herman's bio and previous columns


March 31, 2008

The Coming Tsunami of a Bankrupt America (And How to Prevent It)


The former comptroller general of the United States, David Walker, said in a recent interview that the unfunded liability for Social Security and Medicare was $20 trillion in 1990. The Social Security and Medicare trustees issued their annual report last week indicating that the unfunded liability for those two programs is now $53 trillion.


Congress has done absolutely nothing to curtail this national financial tidal wave. For decades, some members have talked – only talked – about the problem. But all of them have allowed the unfunded liabilities to explode, and the national debt to grow to almost $10 trillion.


Add to those numbers the nearly $500 billion a year in interest payments on the debt, the cost of the war in Iraq, the rising costs of oil controlled by many of our enemies and an ever-increasing annual federal budget of about $3 trillion, and one can only conclude that a nightmare scenario is in our future if nothing is done.


That nightmare is a totally bankrupt United States of America.


Most members of Congress are in denial that this will happen, because they never do anything to stop the spending, stop the raiding of FICA taxes for other purposes or stop the spending on pet pork barrel projects. In fact, many members of Congress even use the perverted logic that a reduction in an annual increase is a cut in spending.


Maybe the Mule Museum in Bishop, California, which is slated to receive $50,000 of our money, should be renamed the jackass museum. We will need a place to remember all of the elected officials past and present who will have allowed this to happen.


The Republicans in Congress had six years with a Republican president to do something about this, and they failed us. The Democrats who now control Congress don’t even talk about the problem. They talk about more spending and more taxes on the evil rich.


The mainstream media does not talk about this problem, because many of them would rather report on the race, lies and sex scandals in politics, the ongoing civil war of words between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the racially incendiary sermons of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, John McCain’s conservative deficiencies, the recession obsession or the failures of the Bush Administration.


As a result, most of the public is fiscally clueless.


Our $14 trillion economy is fragile but not in a recession, and it is certainly not in shambles like our spending addiction.


We cannot tax our way out of this financial tsunami. We cannot borrow our way out and we cannot close our eyes and hope it goes away.


That’s what the ancient Roman Empire did, and now it is just an episode in the history books.


The solutions are simple with the usual complex political barriers and lack of leadership. Namely, pass a balanced budget amendment, restructure existing federal assistance programs and stop calling them entitlement programs. The only entitlement is to be able to keep more of our own money.


We cannot wait for the next great leader to just show up. The public has got to start banging on the doors of Congress and the White House until they wake up.


Unlike the unexpected and sudden tsunami that devastated the countries bordered by the Indian Ocean in 2004, we know this financial devastation is coming.


What part of “Do Something!” don’t our so-called leaders understand?


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column # HC106. Request permission to publish here.
Op-Ed Writers
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Alan Hurwitz
Paul Ibrahim
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Gregory D. Lee
David B. Livingstone
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jamie Weinstein
Feature Writers
Mike Ball
Bob Batz
The Laughing Chef
David J. Pollay
Business Writers
Cindy Droog
D.F. Krause