The $200 Trillion Secret


So the debates are over and the presidential campaign is winding down.  Yet, I haven’t heard either of the candidates, never mind the totally biased political pundits, talk about the only issue that really matters; namely, the economy.  Okay, I was just joking about that, sort of.  Here’s why.

From my perspective, neither of the candidates has a meaningful plan to turn the country around, let alone return it to greatness.  Heck, Obama seemingly doesn’t have any plan at all.  The elephant in the room that everyone is ignoring is the federal deficit which may be as high as $200 trillion (as opposed to the published figure of $16 trillion), which means that you could conceivably shut down the entire federal government and the country could go still go further into the hole.  Of course, these numbers don’t even count the black budget which absolutely no one ever talks about.

The reason is that the government lies about most things pertaining to the economy.  By that, I mean they lie about little things and they lie about big things; certainly important things like the rate of inflation and the unemployment rate.  For example, if the inflation rate is kept artificially low then workers’ salaries, most of which are driven either directly or indirectly by the Consumer Price Index, have less value relative to the cost of products that they buy (food, gas, housing etc).  This is one of the reasons why the savings rate has plummeted over the last 30 years.

David Walker, a highly-respected and former U.S. Comptroller General, has launched the Comeback America Initiative to discuss the looming crisis in government spending which he says is a bigger threat to the country than terrorism.  In fact, he has labeled it a threat to the very survival of the republic. Yet, go on the six-o-clock news and see if anyone is talking about it.  Alternatively, attend a local town hall meeting and see if anyone is even remotely aware of the issue.  One must also question why Mitt Romney is not making a big deal out of this either, as this has the potential to swing the election to him.  I’ll leave that to you to ponder.

The bottom line is that the government wants to hide how bad things really are.  Sure, Obama is politically motivated to suppress the truth – he has an election to win.  However, this problem has been around for a while.  President Clinton left office with a surplus so just how could things have gotten so bad so fast?

So there you have it – political intrigue, government bailouts to corrupt financial institutions, including foreign banks, and a cast of characters worthy of an Agatha Christie novel.  It’s a $200 trillion secret that they don’t want you to know about… but, of course, now you know.

2 Responses to “The $200 Trillion Secret”

  1. scotsman said

    All of what you say is very true, but your last question isn’t really all that mysterious: Two decade long wars were launched under Bush, one of them with nearly completely fabricated pretexts … the wars were fought with very high tech weapons in enormous numbers (TLAM missiles are very costly, and getting a platform in place to deliver them, such as a sub, a B-2, or a variety of surface warships) is a pretty darned expensive endeavor. Add the fact that nearly ALL of the troops deployed have not been regular Army, Air Force, or Marine units, but National guard, which are FAR more expensive to deploy: not only is it expensive to Federalize and train them up for a combat tour, but it’s tough on the businesses back home that the soldiers work for: these companies are obliged to hold their positions open, so they either A) have to hire a temp to do the work, or B) have to shift the load onto another employee. When those troops get home, they have injuries to be taken care of, and after a decade and 3, 4, or 5 combat deployments each, they increasingly have need of psychological and psychiatric care.

    Add to all that cost, the cost of some pretty darned hefty tax cuts for big corporations, and the loss of Clinton’s surplus is not only understandable, but inevitable. The Bailouts were of questionable use, and the loss of productivity caused by displaced workers, and downsized companies just added to an already miserable situation!

    I’m not really savvy on economics, and I’m ill qualified to judge how well Obama has performed in this area, compared to how another might have done, whether Republican or Democrat, but my gut tells me it’s unfair to expect ANY President of either Party to fix in three and a half years a mess that took eight to get us into …

    It’s also my personal opinion that the Republican Party that got us into this situation, and which, in Mitt Romney’s various gaffes seems to have little interest in looking out for the middle class, would be very unlikely to improve matters if voted into Office.

    I work at the University of Mississippi, where the first debate of the LAST Presidential race was held, between McCain and Obama, and there was another Elephant in the room on that occasion that infuriated me: The lack of a clearly defined mission for either of the two wars that were launched!

    I am, among other things, a former Air Force Officer. The Military Doctrine of the Armed Forces of the United States is laid out VERY clearly, and every single Officer is required to study it. The very first thing in that doctrine is the concept of MISSION. Paraphrasing the rather stilted language of the regulation, every military action, of whatever size or scope, from a raid, to a war, needs a clearly defined, realistically attainable MISSION.

    It’s the thing Officers can tell 18 year-old Kids “Look, this is what we’re here to do … THIS is why it’s important enough to ask you to lay down your life, if need be, to achieve it … and THIS is what must be accomplished in order to claim victory and go home …”

    Neither of the wars still being fought had a real mission. It wasn’t killing Hussein or Bin Laden: we DID those things, and the wars still go on!

    You see, without that mission, there’s no end to the spending. No end to the suffering. No end to the trauma of warfare. No end to uncertainty, to marital stress, to worries over whether you’ll still be able to do your job when you get home. We learn this in Viet Nam. Maybe Obama wasn’t aware of it, but McCain damned well certainly was! And no one said a word. No one mentioned that the congress of the United States DIDN’T vote for a Declaration of War. No one mentioned, until FAR too late, that the Bush administration pressured the CIA to show evidence of WMDs that weren’t actually there. And no one mentioned the fact that an Urban war in Iraq and a war in the mountains of Afghanistan, are about the most foolish and expensive and impossible to win scenarios that we’ve faced, since Viet Nam.

    The result of all this was inevitable, and goes FAR beyond the economic chaos which you rightly point out as being a greater threat to our nation and way of life than Terrorism: remember the end of Viet Nam? after a decade of horrendous fighting with no end in sight, soldier began going nuts. Officers were Fragged. Civilians were slaughtered in pure fits of frustration. Remember Lt. Calley?

    It’s all happening again, and for the same reasons. Massacres. Murders. Drug abuse. Suicides. It is a fact, according to the Pentagon, that more military members died in the past year of SUICIDE than did from enemy action.

    The Republicans were responsible for that. I may not know economics, but I’m an expert in military matters: I will never, ever, again, give my vote to the people that wrought this nightmare!

    Forgive me, sir, for taking up so much space on your blog! I didn’t intend the rant to be this long, and I’ll fully understand if you choose to remove it!

    • chicagoja said

      As always, I thoroughly enjoyed your comments. Now I know why as we are both former military officers. By the way my question was rhetorical, as I already knew the answer. As to the economics, four years is a relatively short period of time. However,the real question is what was their mission, to use an analogy to your military discussion. The answer: Their mission, which I intentionally didn’t cover in my blog, was to destroy the country and in this they have been very successful.

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