Regardless of one’s opinion on the War in Afghanistan, most Americans agree on one opinion for the first time in decades; the withdrawal was a shit show. Everything about it was a disgrace with one of the larger ones being that $85 billion dollars of military equipment were left behind for the Taliban to seize. That amount of money is more than half of 2002’s federal government deficit, the first full year of the War on Terror.
Sadly, government spending and the lack of paying for it is a problem that grows worse every year. In 2001 there was a budget surplus and the national debt was being paid down. Twenty years later it was reported that in 2020, the deficit for that year alone was over $3.1 trillion dollars. In a country of 330 million people, that debt works out to $9,400 per person. This is in addition to the taxes you already paid.
Overall National Debt is approaching $30 trillion dollars and by the end of 2021, it will be equivalent to 115% of that year’s GDP. This is not sustainable. And yet somehow, the Democratic Party thinks that if we just spend another $3.5 trillion then all of this country’s problems will be fixed. What’s even more alarming is that hundreds of thousands of voters agree with this.
Republicans don’t escape blame on this either. When President Bush came into office in 2001 there was a budget surplus. Nine-Eleven also happened that year and the response it demanded led to the unfunded War on Terror. The responsible thing to have done would have been to raise taxes, sell bonds, or ask the American people to make a sacrifice to fund these operations but instead, the people were left staying comfortable while the bill gets passed to their children and now their grandchildren.
But America was not always like this. Our founding fathers detested debt and George Washington during his farewell address warned America that they need to keep government spending low because taxes are unpleasant. During the Civil War, we saw the size of our government balloon and they introduced a national income tax but in the aftermath of the war the size of the government shrank and the income tax was repealed. During the 19th century, the wealth of the American nation grew at a rate that was historically unprecedented.
That trend started to reverse itself when the progressives swept into power in the 20th century and decided that part of the government’s mandate was to provide equity. This began with a constitutional amendment to tax an individual’s income which was sold as a modest 1-7% tax on the rich so they can pay their fair share and give back to the nation that gave them so many opportunities. This “noble idea” grew into the monster that exists today and now 21st-century politicians are using the same sales tacit to implement a wealth tax.
Most Americans do not understand economics because it requires one to consider what could have happened but won’t because resources were diverted from that possibility. But the never-ending deficit spending flips reality on its head because Americans are having their cake while eating it too. Too many people are unaware that there is a bill that needs to be paid and until it’s paid, the amount due will grow exponentially. There’s a popular belief that US treasury bonds are the safest investment to buy because the United States has never defaulted on its debt but that is not true. We defaulted on our debt in 1933 when Roosevelt changed the price of gold from $20 to $35 an ounce and then we completed defaulted in 1971 when Nixon “temporarily” took us off the gold standard. Every day since then has witnessed the purchasing power of the dollar steadily decline.
And the reason why we went off the gold standard was that government spending was growing at a rate that could only be sustained with a reckless printing press. The stagflation of the 1970s was a result of the over-the-top spending of Lyndon Johnson with the War of Poverty and Vietnam. This continued to hemorrhage money when Nixon took office and continued these disastrous policies. Joe Biden seems determined to make sure history repeats itself with his enormous spending bills.
Runway inflation has returned to America in the 2020s and it threatens to destroy the wealth of our citizens. But somehow, the politicians who say they know what’s best for us believe the best thing to do now is to spend more money than the government has while funding it by making the printer work faster. Ordinarily, the only real benefit to inflation is that it would shrink down the value of our debt but somehow our “wise” political class is spending money they don’t have at a pace that’s exceeding the current runaway rate of inflation.
Prominent politicians like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders blame the government’s growing debt on wealthy Americans not paying their “fair share” of taxes. They complain that revenue can’t cover spending, yet they never consider that the best solution to the problem would be to cut the spending.
The spending isn’t even the biggest problem America faces. Our biggest problem is that there aren’t enough citizens demanding accountability from our government. There have been decades of graft, waste, corruption, incompetence, and like the frog slowly boiling to death as the water gradually heats up, we have been conditioned to accept this as normal. Now with the last American troops leaving Afghanistan we also leave the Taliban as one of the most equipped armies in the world. As of now, no one who is high up in the government and responsible for this giant screw-up has been fired.
Eighty-five billion dollars is still a lot of money in 2021. There are over one hundred countries where that amount dwarfs their GDP. For the United States, that amount is equivalent to about 3% of our 2021 federal budget deficit. America is still the wealthiest nation on the planet, but it won’t be for long if we keep allowing the federal government to continue squandering our resources away. We need to defund the federal government to save this country and to do that we need to drastically reduce the spending because right now, it isn’t even fully funded.
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