In 1970, famed Americannewpaper cartoonist Walt Kelly, creator of the comic strip "Pogo", had his characters investigate the cause of environmental pollution in their swamp. The mystery was solved whenPorky the Porcupine loudly proclaimed: "Wehave met the enemy and he is us!".
TheAmerican voting public has contradictory expectations of it'sgovernment at all levels.
First, the voting and tax-paying public wants lower taxes. Candidates for executive office can always win votes by promising to lower taxes without explaining how they intend to cut popularprograms.
Second, this same public wants the government to spend more on programs that can benefit them in many different ways. Candidates for legislative office win votes by promising to "deliver more" in the way of services and subsidies for popularprograms without explaining how funding them will impact taxes.
As a result, the Americanpublic has been doing itself a tremendous disservice. Constant annual budget deficits which, yearly, increase total levels of government debt have been concealing wasteful costs associated with outsourcing and "kick-backs" to politicians from those receiving excessive tax-funded subsidies.
This might not be happening if only the costs of corruption were reflected in the levels of public debt. Then, if the public actually cared enough about this problem, it could choose to not re-elect anyone known to be causing it. What are the chances of that happening? One may wonder.
For example, since 1935, the Congress and the White House have been taking the "surplus" tax revenues paid into the Social Security system. Now that the baby boom generation is beginning to retire, the money they have paid for their own future benefits is no longer there, as it has all been "borrowed" to artificially lower the size of the federal deficit and debt.
Because there is no intention to pay back what has been "borrowed," future Social Security tax increases will be imposed on those still working, and retirees will face benefit cuts. This is because the "surplus" must be maintained so that it can continue to be "borrowed".
When the Americanpublic gets all it wants from its government, budget deficits and increased levels of governmentdebt are inevitable. An example of the false promise of the "free lunch" used to sell vastly overpriced beer, before "Prohibition," and yet "another fine mess".
Copyright Edward J. Bradley 2006
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