Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2013, 3:11 pm

U.S. economic policy stupid

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By Col. (Ret.) Dave Shaver

Every household in America should be managing its debt. Every business has to do the same. Everyone from the working poor to the richest of the rich should be aware that revenues should never exceed expenditures. Yet, here is our insane federal government running up the national debt to $17 trillion ... or are we?

There are economists who say we owe a lot more. In an open letter, Lou Colombo writes, "According to economics professor Laurence Kotilkoff at Boston University the true fiscal gap (national debt) when all the promises that the government has made to everyone -- China, Japan, the Social Security Trust Fund, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, federal employee health and retirement benefits -- are added up, it (the gap) is $222 trillion, not the $17 trillion claimed by politicians and reported by those who control the news media."

Dr. Kotilkoff said, "The debt is growing by $11 trillion every year -- that is 10 times larger than that which Washington is wringing its hands over today." If Dr. Kotilkoff and other economists are right in their arithmetic, we have been had by both political parties. We cannot overcome such a number for many generations.

Why is the government reporting $17 trillion when the answer is much more? Why does the government list the number of illegal aliens in this country at 12 million when the reality is easily double that number? Why does the government report an unemployment figure of 7.8 percent when the actual number is closer to 20 percent? Is it really all that important to keep the numbers low and lie to the American public about the real, truthful state of the union?

Every time we need more money than we gather in revenues, we just "print" our way out of the jam, running up spiraling debt, but a debt which is not entirely real. No one is accountable under such a fiscal system. Is there real debt that we must pay off or is there just an endless stream of printing money and Treasury bill buybacks by the government? If this is reality, since Japan, Europe and other fiscal entities are printing all the money they want, following our example, then an inflation tsunami is on the horizon. There is no avoiding it. Eventually, we all must pay the piper.

Socialists in Congress seem to have glommed onto this unaccountable, insatiable government spending fiscal spiral. As long as both parties succumb to the concept that we can print our way out of debt -- that there is no real debt -- we will proceed down this stupid path until these Utopian fools reach their communal property goals.

It seems that while the communist, socialist countries of the world have finally found that capitalism is the answer and are excelling economically, the U.S. is headed in precisely the wrong direction. Instead of meeting our national responsibilities, we have become more and more lawless, socialistic and corrupt.

We can't halt this economic freight train with the leaders we have elected. We can only encourage our representatives and our president to slow down to lessen the crash at the end of the line. We need to return to a responsible approach to our requirements and balance our books as a nation.

Alas, we can't. You know it. I know it. They won't stop spending money we don't have until all the socialist/progressives run their political course, and have spent all our net worth, redistributing wealth until there is none left. Overspending, as we have, is committing national economic suicide.
Fight back when and where you can.
Col. Dave Shaver is a retired U.S. Army officer and former tenured faculty member of the U.S. Army War College, where he held the General MacArthur academic chair of research; dshaver630@aol.com.