President Obama leaves us fiscal disaster
Today's entitlement programs of the federal government account for nearly two-thirds of all federal spending - up from less than one-third in 1960, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Nearly 50 percent of Americans "live in homes receiving one or more government transfer benefits," up from about 20 percent in the 1980s. (WSJ - 1/24/13 Opt Ed. article,"Yes Mr. President, We are a Nation of Takers".) Further statistics, as provided, are as follows: Over 35 percent of Americans - over 100 million- receive money, goods or services - benefits originally only intended for the "poor," including Medicaid and food stamps. More than 8.8 million working age men and women today receive Social Security disability payments (three times as many as in 1990). In 2011 over 12.4 million obtained disability income support from one or more government programs. On that current trajectory, the Social Security disability fund is projected to run out of money during Mr Obama's second term. Finally over two-thirds of all entitlement spending goes to non-senior citizens!
Yes, Mr. President, we most certainly are a nation predominately of "takers." Yet, you/he simultaneously refuses to address either our nation's trillion-plus dollars of continuing annual deficits or our fast approaching $17 trillion national debt as of no immediate concern! Only the president's out-going treasurer's close ties - as a former member at the New York Fed - with our Federal Reserve's president - has stayed our nation's day of reckoning. By continuing its policies: (1) of keeping discount rates artificially low - near zero - and now well into Obama's remaining years of his second term; and (2) by continuing its trillion dollar a year repurchases of Treasury's long term bonds to keep their interest rates also artificially low. The undisclosed self-interest of that policy is the equally artificially low cost to the federal government of meeting its interest payments on that debt. That encourages our president to continue his spendthrift ways and to put off any use of any (significant or otherwise) annual revenue to reduce our debt through his remaining years in office. That will please the nearly 50 percent "takers" - his constituents - while leaving the fiscal disaster he has created for a later president and a later Congress to address. Can that be the legacy that President Obama wishes to leave this country?
Henry R. Horsey