“Gang of 6” or “Pathetic Posse”?

U.S. Debt Clock

Image from USDebtClock.org (click on logo above to go there)

Yesterday’s announcement that a bi-partisan “Gang of 6” U.S. Senators might have found a way out of the stalemate in the federal debt ceiling negotiations with a deficit reduction plan has me dumbfounded.  The notion that we should all feel better about ourselves with a plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years shows just how addicted we have become to debt and how hopeless we are at getting ourselves out of it.  First, the national debt is $14.3 trillion.  Reducing this figure by $4 trillion a decade from now is hardly cause for celebration.  Further, though one might assume this means our national debt would be $10.3 trillion in 10 years, this is not the truth.  That would require Congress to operate with balanced budgets for an entire decade.  Ironically, the House of Representatives is proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment RIGHT NOW that the Senate and Obama consider a non-starter.  In 2009, the ANNUAL budget deficit was $1.4 trillion.  In 2010, it was $1.3 trillion.  In 2011, it will likely exceed $1.3 trillion.  Three years, $4 trillion.  At this rate, the national debt would be over $13 trillion HIGHER than today in 10 years.  BUT WAIT, with $4 trillion reduced, it would be only about $9 trillion higher, or about $23 trillion.  Citizens rejoice!


5 responses to ““Gang of 6” or “Pathetic Posse”?

  1. It depends on the growth projections used. If 5/10 years have very strong growth, then the spending cuts + revenues would be enough to get the deficit back to a reasonable level.


    • In my opinion, there is no such thing as a “reasonable level” for the deficit when the government is carrying a debt of $14.3 trillion. If anything, we should be talking about what would be a reasonable level for a budget SURPLUS, not deficit! Remember the Bill Clinton years–not that long ago? Federal surpluses are not an impossibility, but from where we stand right now, it seems that way. The Gang of 6 proposal is a weak attempt, at best.


    • By the way, thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. –Dan


  2. No one seems to be talking about this, but demographers saw this one coming when the Babies were Booming. We all knew that some major economic “fit was going to hit the shan” when such a large percentage of the population was going to retire (stop paying taxes and start drawing Social Security) and they left so few babies in their wake to support them.

    Beyond all the “fiscial irresponsibility” finger-pointing partisian bickering about how we got into this mess and how we’re going to get out of it, our leaders turned a blind eye to a demographic reality for the last 50 years that is now happening. We live in a drama-loving, reactive society. And we are getting what we love: drama!

    If I wasn’t so disgusted with airlines, I’d try to fly away to a more proactive, less dramatic culture. But I probably could get there in an airplane, could I?


    • Great perspective, Lorna. Politicians seem to have enough trouble solving problems as they arise, let alone planning for the future. I am not making excuses for them, of course, but it is the truth. Nobody seems to care that younger generations like mine are paying into Social Security, even though it is unlikely they will ever get any money out of the system when they retire, since the system will be BROKE. How it is fair to confiscate hard-earned pay under the pretense that people will someday collect from a fiscally unsound program? Just another example of poor planning, such as you mentioned. This is no time for baby steps. We need to change directions in a big way to solve a big problem. Thanks, again, for reading and contributing. –Dan


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