Friday, December 17, 2010

It's time we considered slaughtering some of our sacred cows.

The tax bill has finally been passed into law. For the vast majority of us, we dodged a bullet for it would had been we, the bottom 2%ers that would have had our taxes increased the most. With the tax cuts extended for another 2 years, the bigger issue that isn't really get much redresses is the massive and insane spending of money we don't have, even with the tax increase, on major pet projects. The corruption of the voters is a major problem and when you look at the 3 biggest spending blocks of our government, it's clear way that spending doesn't ever get cut.

You would think with these stupid 300,000 for a concrete fish, or a library after some congress person or what ever ear marks, that getting rid of of these would be our top priorities, or how about ending welfare for why should those that don't work be rewarded, or the salaries of the top bureaucrats. Well, you can take all the social programs and wasteful nepotism that goes on with lobbies and such, it won't make that much of a dent in our national debt or budget. The top 3 blocks nearly account for nearly 2/3rds of all our spending. Yet they're such sacred cows. They make the waste we see with earmarks seem pale, a rounding error in comparison. Even the 1.2 Trillion spending stimulus would be just a fraction of these 3's costs. What are these sacred cows we need to slaughter and BBQ over an open flame.

1. Social Security. Whether you're a conservative or liberal, one cow that isn't to be touched is SS. Neither party has done much and the public, in the form of votes, will make you pay if you dare go near this. However, this is going to bankrupt the county on its own.
What Must Be Done: We need to face facts, we can't maintain SS as it is. When this program, which isn't even 80 years old yet, and yet take 20% of the federal budget, the retirement age is as it still is today, 65 years of age. However, this was installed when the life expectancy in the country was 55 years. The thinking was if you can work 10 years beyond, you've earned the privilege to retire. Today the life expectancy is 77 years. When it was 10 years beating the odds, one person's benefits was covered by 40 workers. Today it's 3 and when the boomer retire, it's going to go in the negative. When the boomers were being born, things worked out as there were far more workers contributing than those taking out. Now those numbers are reversed. Many benefits have been added, like survivor benefits as well as disabilities, benefits that were never intended for SS. Add the looting the government have of this program to cover current costs and you have not a money pit, but a money black hole.
Why nothing will get done: Simply put, far too many people are either too stupid or lazy to plan and save for the future and feel "safe" with the government in charge. The government doesn't have to contribute so they won't have any loss when his behemoth falls. Not to mention with the corruption of the voters on this one they would be slaughtered if they dare address it.

2. Defense spending. I know I won't be popular with conservatives on this one, but our defense budget is beyond obscene. We, the USA, spend more for defense than nearly DOUBLE the rest of the world combined, including China who could very well defeat us, at least in a naval conflict. It nearly accounts for 18% of our budget and what have we gained from it? The most powerful military in history that have the conjones of a paper tiger.
What must be done: First of all, we have to put an end to being the world's police man. We come to the aid of far too many countries, many our enemies. The war in South Korea, though heating up again, had been at "armistice" for nearly 50 years, and they still can't defend their own border? Why do we have troops in Europe and Japan for? Do we expect World War 2 to continue? Even the Filipinos had enough of us til the Abu's and Moro's raised up and even then, they do most of the fighting themselves. Are we still in Guam? Is there a threat of instability? We need to pick our fights for as Iraq and Afghanistan have shown us, if you're going to fight for the sake of fighting, you're going to be bled to death. Frankly, fighting to keep hostile countries and rulers in power just seem . . . well, let's say Sun Tsu would commit Harry Karry.
Why it won't get done: Well, conservatives will never give up national defense. It's a fundamental to their belief core. Liberals, dispite the talk, aren't suicidal. Even they need protection and let's face it. They fear more what would happen if we leave the lands they're protecting should we out and out leave. Not to mention, many on both sides are benefiting in some way in the contracts in the defense department. They've literally have become too big to fail (or will it be they're fail because they're too big?).

3. Medicaid. This program has to be the biggest political cancer in the history of human kind. What started as a 4 billion entitlement on the war on poverty, has mushroomed to a 400 billion nightmare more than 10 times what they projected the maxium cost and still rising. That's larger than the entire GDP of 70% of the nations on earth. It's hardly been 40 years and this thing has mushroomed 100 fold and still growing and when Bush II added prescription drugs, it set up an entitlement that won't be overcome.
What's need to be done: Obamacare even knew the need to cut this one down to size. As with SS, the benefits have to cut and be more stingy. Should be used as supplementary insurance, or reward base program to promote a private insurance model to promote the need. With government intervention, it's just going to become a bigger and more bloated monstrosity.
Why it won't get done: Medicaid is relied upon from a vast number of our elderly. With the boomers retiring, they're going to represent a block that engulfs 1/3 of the voting population. Show me a politician willing to antagonized that voting block and I'll show you a politician that wants to retire.

Painful and how much we believe in these Sacred Cows, we can't maintain them. Many of the benefits they promote aren't even funded any more (except the actual war making materials, but the benefits for the men and women are still questionable). Without cutting on these huge Sacred Cows, all this talk about spending cuts are going to be nothing more that rhetoric and out and out pipe dream. Rhetoric and pipe dreams that our national debt can't afford to take on.

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