For a while it was scary, then it was sad, now it's just preposterous:
Taxpayers are on the hook for an extra $55,000 a household to cover rising federal commitments made just in the past year for retirement benefits, the national debt and other government promises, a USA TODAY analysis shows.It's the laughableness, the insanity, the unreality of the whole situation that has me thinking: would it be more moral to simply default on all government debt than to carry on as we are?
The 12% rise in red ink in 2008 stems from an explosion of federal borrowing during the recession, plus an aging population driving up the costs of Medicare and Social Security.
That's the biggest leap in the long-term burden on taxpayers since a Medicare prescription drug benefit was added in 2003*...
The debt is increasing at such a rate now, and its trajectory on such a course, that anyone who seriously believes that it will be paid off in anything remotely resembling real dollars probably needs to be scribbling Kill Clouseau on a padded wall with a crayon held between the toes. It is not even hope, but delusion.
So if we accept that we are not going to pay the debt off, then we have only the choice of the type of default, either by destroying the current financial system, or by destroying the dollar AND the current financial system. Either way, this beast is going down, the question seems to be how much of our modern world it takes along with it.
In one sense, such a proposal ought to please the Democrats very much. Since a large percentage of the wealth of the rich is in Treasuries and the like - wealth which represents nothing but the payments of the future middle class to the rich of today - wiping out that wealth would be far more immediate and efficient than taxing it away. There are many ways to 'tax' the rich when the objective is simply to impoverish them.
In the same sense, it will be the Baby Boomers who take the biggest hit, which is fitting, since they are the ones who have done 80% of the damage**. The hammer will fall where it ought.
On the other hand, without solving the dollar problem - that problem being that the current dollar is nothing - default itself becomes no less a deferral of the problem than all the stuff Bennie and the Jest are trying at present. The dollar heading to no value is a foregone conclusion, because it already has no value. Its reputation simply has yet to catch up with its character.
* Obama is going to have to try harder if he wants to beat Bush's record. But I'm sure once he gets the hang of it, it should not be any problem.
** Not by being so many, but by demanding so much and replacing themselves so little. The fact that they are so many just made their compound foolishness fatal.