So we're 16,000,000,000,000 +/- a few billion in debt (more on the plus side). Now to put that in perspective you could literally buy out pretty much all of the fortune 500 companies outright, if you were given that kind of cash. I kind of expect there to be something really cool that we've bought with all that, but sadly there's nothing that you can take to the pawn shop, so that's all useless debt. Pretty awesome right?
Before you get on about talking about how the War on Terror is the primary cause, seeing as about $5T of that was in the last three years and the totality of the War on Terror (to include both major fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan) is $1T, and that was over 11 years. . . you don't really have a leg to stand on. Also before you wet your pants about all the things you can do with the cash ceasing these operations will free up. . . it was all borrowed money so there is not one single penny that will be freed up by leaving Afghanistan. On top of that even if the DoD were to cease to exist tomorrow (bad idea but not if you're smoking weed in San Fransisco) that would still leave us with about a half Trillion dollar deficit.
So where is the problem. Well the problem is entirely in entitlements. Social Security Medicare, Medicaid, all that jazz. Now to be totally clear I'm not saying that their aims were a bad thing, but with the increase in life expectancy, and the population retiring and the decrease of the economy the numbers mean simply put that we can't afford to keep the ridiculously lofty promises politicians delivered us. We're going to have to do something and relatively quickly, because within a decade, or less we will be roughly in the same position as Greece is now, and you better believe that there will be not one country on Earth that can bail us out.
Now before you jump out a window, or decided to OD on your Xanax, the fact that no one is coming to save us is actually a good thing. It will do two things, namely 1). motivate us to get it right and get it right the first time, and 2). motivate us to ensure that it's not just a patch job, but really sustainable. Here's the bad news, despite the fact that politicians do indeed agree that something must be done and quick, they are still playing a lot of the business as usual games in Washington. Sadly many of the States are not helping matters as they are spending like drunken sailors on their first liberty with a shiny new credit card. Too many of the States, and Municipalities *California* *Harrisburg* whether admitting it or not are not actually getting serious about reducing their budget, and are still in a lot of ways looking for someone to bail them out.
There are a lot of so called Sacred Cows, that we're going to have to use out metaphorical Ten Commandments of Economic theory to destroy, sadly I don't see too many Charlton Heston's running around, but never say never.
So here's my thought. How about we all fire everyone in Washington. I mean fire every single Representative that is nothing more than a useless windbag (Maxine Waters) a tax cheat (Charlie Rangle) or any semblance of corrupted, or speaks in any way like a politician. How about we do a write in campaign for Engineers, former Service Members, Nurses, Doctors, Bankers, Farmers, Football coaches. Hell you think Michael Jordan would make a good Representative, write him into the ballot. The idea is that for just one, just one congress, there is not a single Representative there who actually ran for or sought office.
Two years later we can go back to the same old faces, but I would like to see two years of people who really don't have an axe to grind, getting together and talking things out in such a way that no one has had a hand in their campaign. Their staffers can be fresh out of college, and just as an added bonus we can actually swap parties on them, having Democrats working for Republicans, and vice versa. Sure nothing might get done, but then, that might actually be a good thing. Imagine a house wife looking at our federal budget and saying "golly, I don't think Bake sales are going to cover this".
Of course this is a pipe dream, but really this is one of those pipe dreams that goes back to We the People.