Balancing the budget in 2032 is going to be a rather easy, mechanical task for future American politicians. A constitutional amendment requiring balanced budgets will be enacted by then, and Congress will only need to tackle projected deficits by adjusting variable pension and Medicare rates – for those retired – which will have replaced the current models for Social Security and Medicare. And if worst comes to worst, there will be room for additional cuts from the budget of an already octomated military which by then will lack any hegemonic designs as other major world powers claim their legitimate stakes and defend their grounds.
That’s my prognostication as we close 2011, a year of much turmoil around the world, and one with a hopeful spark for change in the United States of America, as Wall Street’s macabre face slowly becomes unveiled.
It will be the younger generations’ payback to the current generations for leaving them with an inherited debt approaching then twice the gross national product; a debt they will only be able to amortize on the backs of the retired population… the people who thought nothing of creating this burden for them, their children and their grandchildren. Such prediction does assume capitalism, in whatever form, remains in our midst; a likely occurrence, as “owners” of the current system will enforce it from the top down via the capitalists’ police force: the nation’s military. But that remains a questionable, not a sure thing.
As I see it, we are still in for a decade of social and economic turmoil in a nation of proud yet disposed people, with much economic juggling continuing to be performed by never-learn politicians as we march to do battle with a few more economic bubbles. Our capitalist and prolific economic motherland will birth a few more bubbles before bubble-hysterectomy is finally forced on her; a little too late, I am afraid, with only symbolic significance and little else. The housing bubble, only partially deflated during the past four years, will continue to lose air and new bubble-twins will make their entrance in the form of state and municipal debt which cannot be repaid; not to forget the ugliest sibling of all yet to be birthed: government guarantees on student loans which, as they become noncollectable, will sooner or later become part of America’s national debt.
This projected educational debt through guarantees, legislatively imposed on the taxpayers by a deranged, lobby-connected, pseudo-democratic system, has bestowed incredible wealth on both for-profit and non-profit businesses and institutions, at a cost to taxpayers likely to add yet another trillion dollars to an already unmanageable debt. They will become cashable-guarantees from the federal government which have had a double negative effect: first, by hiding the true unemployment and underemployment rate, as it allowed millions of unemployed and “professional” students, to attend both traditional and for-profit sham schools, where skills/knowledge acquired – if such took place – will be in most instances irrelevant to society since there won’t be any jobs or positions for them as they attain their certificates, diplomas or designations.
Could it be that the United States is entering a brand new era when the discussion switches from “illegal immigration” to “brain-drain and American migration”? Will our best and brightest people find hope and refuge in other shores… those of Brazil, parts of Asia and new Liberia’s in Africa? Will future American ex-pats be sending money to feed and care for their impoverished old back in the States? That picture may not be so unreal, certainly not outrageous; by the time Americans come to de-celebrate the centennial of the Great Depression… just a score from now.
Whether it takes a decade or a score, the term “economic stimulus” will finally disappear from the lexicon of fully developed, mature economies such as the United States; and the people in those nations will be forced to live within their current productive means. And that productive citizenry will not consider it amoral to have their elders pay for the debt they inherited from them. When you think of it… it does seem equitable and fair.
A sad but realistic outlook as 2011 comes to an end in an America of many past accomplishments… now confronting an uncertain and gloomy future.
© 2011 Ben Tanosborn
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