America’s Broke


It seems more and more people are willing to come out and say that America is bankrupt. That’s because it is.

To understand why America is bankrupt, you only have to look at one part of our budget: Social Security. This is the first year that the program brings in less money than it pays out. Social Security will never balance its budget in the foreseeable future.

Granted, Social Security has a bunch of IOUs in its bank account—IOUs payable by the American taxpayer. But we have a problem—if we raise taxes, we will get less revenue, and those IOUs will only stack up faster. Even cutting taxes to a more reasonable rate to spur the economy along cannot make up the ground we have already lost, not that there’s any political will to do so.

A sane country would’ve long ago modified or eliminated the Social Security program. However, we have no political will to do that either. We’d rather continue down the path we are on until the entire thing collapses, which it is doing right now.

There is a way to build a sane fiscal policy for our country, but it requires that we, the people, demand something different from the government than what we’ve been demanding up until now. Simply put, we can’t treat government like children treat Santa Claus. We must treat it like a government.

What are governments good for? Protecting people’s rights, and that’s about it. We should expect a set of just laws, including laws that ensure free trade (real free trade, not the fake stuff) between the states. We should expect a set of just laws that treats everyone equally, punishing criminals and justifying property damage with just compensation. We also need courts to enforce the laws, and executives to execute the law.

When you get right down to it, the government does far more for us than it needs to. Even things like the police and firefighters are government services that we don’t need the government to supply. We can have separate organizations independent of the government and accountable to the people provide those things. They don’t need the law-making and law-enforcing powers that the official government has.

(A side note on the police—for a very long time, the United States got along just fine without a single policeman. People are quite capable of prosecuting crime and establishing peace themselves.)

Government as a charity provider has always been a bad idea, and we can see why today plainly. Imagine what will happen when the government does go broke! All those poor people who depend on government services will be left without anywhere to go. If we had left charity in private hands, then we could have at least shielded  the poor from the bad decisions of our congressmen.

When we’ve pared down government to what is actually necessary, then we can easily slash the budget and reduce taxes until they are all but non-existent. With this, the congress can begin a sound fiscal policy of only printing enough money to account for the increase in our economy, and find some just way to distribute that cash to the economy. There will likely be more than enough money to run the entire government, from the lowest to the highest levels, if our economy grows as it is expected to do so when taxes and regulations are at a minimum.

I don’t propose that we stop helping the poor or patrolling the streets or putting our fires. What I am proposing is that we stop looking to government to do these things for us. I am proposing that we let government do only what governments should do, and leave the rest to the people to figure out. If that means organizing independent fire and police districts, or even building a community fund to help the poor through local, non-government methods, then that is perfectly fine.


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