An Uneducated Perspective On The Debt Ceiling Crisis

As you may have deduced by the title, I don’t really know much about the nitty-gritty details involved with the economic mess we find ourselves in. Frankly for my purposes, and the remainder of my sanity I hold so dear, I don’t need to.

What I want to talk about is the bullshit I keep hearing over and over from the sad imitation of people we lovingly refer to as politicians. First I guess let me just scope some numbers anyone with access to Wikipedia can find:

Gross debt has increased over $500 billion each year since fiscal year (FY) 2003, with increases of $1 trillion in FY2008, $1.9 trillion in FY2009, and $1.7 trillion in FY2010. As of June 29, 2011, the Total Public Debt Outstanding was $14.46 trillion and was approximately 98.6% of calendar year 2010’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) of $14.66 trillion.

So now we have $14.46 trillion in debt, with around $1.4 trillion a year we spend over what we bring in, and a proposed budget for 2012 estimated at $3.729 trillion. What I’m getting to here folks is the mind boggling realization that we need to close a gap that spans about a third of our budget. Now why don’t we take a bird’s eye glance at the bill that is supposed to save us:

The agreement calls for cuts of more than $900 billion over ten years in spending from programs, agencies and day-to-day spending. It would include security-related and non-security-related cuts. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “discretionary” spending would be decreased by $21 billion in 2012 and $42 billion in 2013.

Of course there is far more too it, but I think that sums up nicely the extent of the budget cuts planned thus far while also exemplifying what annoys me so. The discussion is for $900 billion, something that sounds impressive, until you realize that is over ten years. With much of these cuts not even really being cuts, just decreasing the amount they plan to increase spending by. So when I hear numbers like $1 trillion being thrown around as the planned budget cuts, I am less than impressed in the abilities of those we have representing us to effect any real change. More than that I am frustrated and almost insulted by the deceptive way in which this information is conveyed to the general public.

The trend here as made quite clear from both a historical perspective and this most recent bill, is that our lawmakers do not want to really cut spending nor increase revenue to solve our problem. Leaving that budget gap that much more daunting of a challenge to face. Then again, I am not even really in favor of necessarily cutting programs and benefits, or increasing tax rates. More so advocating the streamlining of current programs and new measures to reduce fraud, mixed with the closing of the ever infamous tax loopholes that allowing large companies and the wealthy to avoid actually paying a bulk (if not all) of their taxes.

Then again what the hell do I know.

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