I’m not talking about life here at Casa Von Ottomatic. Like everyone in these troubled times I’m surviving by my wits. Selling the cell phones and shoes off the kids I find passed out around my old radiator still in the lean-to out back every weekend, then selling them a pint or two the next night when they’re walking to the park. My neighbor Gary thinks it’s this epic drought and heatwave that’s wiping out his peach and apple trees but I’ve been stealing him blind for mash makings to keep the old girl going.
It’s not all take, I pay my fair share. I always cook an extra brisket or pork butt for him. Plus he gets to listen to my hot rod run in the driveway for hours on end while I fine tune the timing curve and carb. She idles around 1,100 rpm with a serious lope and sets off car alarms cruising by out of the throttle at 30 mph. Man, I sure love hearing that thing purr. I can tell he does too because he’s always racing out his house with a really jealous look on his face and walking back muttering to himself.
What I’m saying is no bum economy going to keep me down. You’ve got to look past the trees and see the forest. Carpe the diem. We’re going to look back on the next decade as the Roaring 20’s were to the Great Depression. We’re all livin’ la vida broke, so we might as well enjoy the sleigh ride to Armageddon.
Big numbers get tossed around so often it’s easy to forget just how broke. Let me help you embrace the doom. A fourteen trillion dollar debt is bad. It will be twenty three trillion, at best, by 2020. That $14 trillion is the number they use when you see the cute little kid holding a sign asking why he owes $48,000.
Chicken feed. The big enchilada is Social Security and Medicare. You see estimates between $100-120 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Does anyone believe the actual number isn’t significantly higher than that? Anyway, assume $120 trillion. Divide that by the number of taxpayers (158 million – roughly half of our current 315 million population ) and we working saps are in $760,000 each. I can get my mind around that number. It would get me a decent little starter ranch.
If Uncle Sam were kind enough to let me pay it off like an interest free mortgage that’s just $2,100 a month for 30 years. Oh, and another $133 a month for that national debt I ran up.
That’s right, folks. Every working man will be supporting a retiree of his own. Maybe I’ll get a picture and a letter once a year from mine. I’ll call him “Pops” whatever his name is and send him a pack of Hanes jockey shorts every April 15th. He’ll write back pleading his name is Hazel and to please stop sending underwear because it reminds him of his departed husband Ralph.
Not broke enough for you? There’s still income tax and FICA to be paid just to keep us where we are now. Plus an ever rapidly growing mountain of debt. Annual spending of $3.8 trillion divided by 158M is another $2,004 a month.
Any thought the US government could ever be solvent again begins with sending $8 trillion annually to Washington starting today – and assuming our pay-down-your-mortgage-early money wouldn’t get spent. Without dramatic changes to entitlements and spending Washington must consume over half of the nation’s economic output for the next 30 years just to break even.
Sadly, at this point it’s the best case scenario.
Think we’ll fix things before the ugliness? What if you saw a poll that showed a majority of Republicans – and a higher percentage of Republicans than Independents or Democrats – believe the government should not try to control the costs of Medicare? The same percentage as who would completely overhaul or approve of major changes to Medicare. The cost curve will never be bent any way but up.
Are you ready for 40% unemployment and Zimbabwe level inflation? You better be. Our escalator to the moon will collapse in a spectacular and painful way. I’ve got a sinking feeling the left’s war against culture and morality will bite them in the ass big time once the ugliness begins. America was poor during the Great Depression, but it was still a moral nation. Now, I’m not so sure how the social order will hold up.
On the other hand, it’s hard to have a good old fashioned class war when you’ve spent 40 years compartmentalizing the country into competing groups based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, income, and religion. Being in Texas will be a plus for me. Gary can be a pain in the ass sometimes but I’ve taken him dove hunting several times and he’s a crack shot. Texans are crazy bastards, but we’re well armed crazy bastards.
A polite person wouldn’t bring up such ugliness. One possible future. Is there another, plausible scenario? Almost half the population pays no income tax and the federal government is the nation’s largest employer. Over half the country just wants more money from the ATM. In ten years it will be 60% of the population.
We’re so broke we can’t even pay attention.
That’s not taking into account the inevitable rising interest rates and additional $400 billion annually in debt service. Just another $210 a month per income tax payer.
Anyone want to give odds on that 60% demanding we stop this madness and pay them less?
Me neither. That’s why I’m livin’ la vida broke ahora. Smoke ’em if you got ’em. These are the good old days.