Thomas D. Segel
National Debt: The Real Dirty Little Secret
April 27, 2010
Americans no longer trust anything their government tells them, and with very
good reason. A politician will lie about anything, particularly money. We have
seen it in the double counting and misrepresentation of cost in the latest bill
to be jammed through Congress…Obamacare. We have seen it in the babble the
politicos put out about Social Security. We have seen it in the way they exclude
sensitive items from the total budget count. Have you noticed the federal
government never includes the unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare
or its own retirement system in the total of the national debt? Examples can go
on ad nauseam.
Today the public is being told we face a $15 trillion national debt. This is
perhaps the biggest lie of all. The reality of what we, our children and our
grand children into infinity truly owe is a national debt in excess of $112
trillion, which is at least seven times greater than the figures reported by
that gang of public elitists in Washington.
What we are talking about is the total of all the actual debt along with the
unfunded liabilities created by congressional entitlement programs it has heaped
upon the backs of the American taxpayer. On top of that we must include the
unfunded liabilities that federal government has levied upon the fifty states
with laws, regulations and mandates all imposed without funding.
According to a report from the American Enterprise Institute, if the federal
government stopped using multiple sets of books and placed all existing and
future obligations in a single ledger the current national debt would be $107
trillion. If the non-federal outstanding bond debt is included that total jumps
to $112 trillion in the red.
With all of that red ink in the ledger, our politicians still cry out for more
tax revenue, when in their heart of hearts they really know that a massive cut
in spending is the only way the problem of indebtedness can ever be resolved. It
is not a balanced budget that answers our problem. It is a reduced budget.
Everyone in elected office knows that is the truth…and they fear it. Calling for
reduction in services or entitlements they view as sure death at the ballot box.
So, they answer the people with more lies and bigger promises.
I only know about government waste at a very small level, but I know it occurs
everywhere. When I was on active duty, most military units kept a "wish list”.
This list was made up of all those things we would like to have in our
organization, but were not in the budget. However, we knew that the usual
practice was to receive a telephone call from our finance people just a few days
before the end of the fiscal year. We would be told to submit requests for all
those things we had placed on the "wish list”. The logic was, if the entire
command budget was NOT spent, we could not expect any increase for the upcoming
year…. and everyone wanted an increase. It almost goes without saying that in
most cases, our wish list requests were honored. Variations of such practices
take place in just about every governmental office in the country, regardless of
how much they cry out they can barely make payroll.
It is reported that the federal government actually takes in about $2.1 trillion
each year. That is hard cash, but not enough to pay for congressional excesses,
meaning they borrow even more money from the public and other nations.
It is impossible for me to believe that we couldn’t find at least ten percent of
that $2.1 trillion that is wasted, lost or used to fill political "wish lists”
such as those pork barrel earmarks. Just think about it for a moment. Almost
everyone has been forced to reduce his or her standard of living during this
recession. The only people who are still spending wildly are elected officials.
With some "real” belt tightening, perhaps my great, great, great grandchild
might one day see our debt paid in full and reach a standard of living equal to
what we have enjoyed.