Editor: Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, President, American Center for Democracy (ACD)
See the sources for this article and more research in the Additional Reading section
The Federal government spending is clearly out of control. The annual budget deficit runs about $1.0 trillion in 2022 for fiscal year 2022 or 4% of GDP. During the past six years, the debt has risen from $21 trillion to $31 trillion. About half of it is due to COVID-19 and the rest due to general new entitlement programs, such as the Green New Deal.
During this time, the nation’s debt has risen from 75% of the GDP to 125%. Excluding the short-term challenges that COVID presented, what is causing this explosion of federal spending? What should we do about it? And what are the longer-term ramifications?
We have identified eleven structural problems feeding these catastrophic fiscal abuses:
1) Democracies are inherently poor financial stewards because as political parties vie for votes and power, they offer growing subsidies to the voters. Once in power, the leading party’s subsidies often lack solid internal financial management and oversight.
2) Democracies, unlike corporations, do not use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). As a result, long-term liabilities are not adequately accounted for until the pay-as-you-go bills come due 10-20 years later.
3) Rising interest rates on more than $31 trillion of debt are not budgeted correctly, thus increasing future budgets by $300 billion for each 1% rise in interest rates. Such high levels of debt will become a huge burden to our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, who will get stuck paying the bills.
4) Military spending for 2023, of nearly $800 billion, is short by at least $100 billion. That shortfall includes the necessary funds to cover the development of hypersonic weapons, nuclear weapon modernization, and naval and space-force expansion, to match or exceed that of the Chinese. In addition, there is a need to increase our Middle Eastern military buildup, in order to quell inflated Iranian ambitions. We must also increase military pay and fully fund military recruitment.
5) Social Security and Medicare for 70 million seniors and disabled citizens represent 65% of federal spending but are grossly underfunded. Each is projected to go bankrupt in 10-15 years. The recently announced 8.7% increase in social security benefits in 2023 will accelerate this bankruptcy process.
7) Federal oil stockpiles and other basic national security-related materials have been depleted and must be replenished. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) held 727 million barrels in 2009, but is now reduced to 400 million barrels. Basic materials stockpiles used to be $42 billion in 1952 at today’s dollar value, but have now fallen to $1 billion.8) The Ukraine war has used up vital military backup supplies, and left our own military weakened and unprepared for combat.
9) The Deep State bureaucracy is grossly inflated, with retirement benefits that are much too high.
10) Budget subsidies for alternative renewable fuels are far too generous.
11) Absorbing three to four million illegal migrants costs at least $50 billion annually.
So what should we do about this fiscal mess?
1) No new entitlement programs should be initiated until independent accountants certify that Social Security and Medicare are financially viable.
3) The southern border with Mexico must be closed immediately. Government employees who are obstructing this closure must be fired and then indicted for treason.
5) A dramatic increase in all forms of energy supplies should be encouraged to maximize GDP growth.
The incompetent, spendthrift Biden administration is squandering the nation’s coffers and destroying the economy. Accumulating high levels of debt is really the equivalent of intergenerational theft by current generations, at the expense of future generations. Americans, young and old, should not tolerate this level of irresponsibility any longer!
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) – Forbes.com
U.S. Military Spending/Defense Budget 1960-2022 – MacroTrends.net
It’s Time to End Subsidies for Renewable Energy – AmericasPower.org
“Deep State” Bureaucracy vs. Trump, America, Constitution – TheNewAmerican.com