The Problem with Reality

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
This essay examines how our government ignores reality when dealing with economic issues and how that places an unfair burden on the younger generations.

Submitted: April 07, 2014

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Submitted: April 07, 2014

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THE PROBLEM WITH REALITY

The problem with reality is that it always seems to get in the way of our desires. Facts intrude upon our expectations. Why can’t they leave us alone? Some people want to be rock stars, but they can’t sing a note, so reality won’t let them become famous. Many of us would like to be published authors, but we can’t find anyone to publish our writing if we don’t pay for it. The reality is that unless you’re a serial murderer, a former movie star, a politician, or a married politician‘s mistress, it’s almost impossible to get a publisher to read what you wrote.

Speaking of politicians, they have a much harder time with reality than most of us. They have to figure out what millions of people that won’t face reality want and how to give it to them so that they can stay in power. Reality says that that is impossible, so they have to circumvent reality to do it. Their solution is called “kick the can down the road” also know as “make it somebody else’s problem”. It is based upon the theories of the British economist John Maynard Keynes who famously said, “In the long run we are all dead.” It has been said that his idea that governments should spend money that they don’t have may have saved capitalism. If spending money you don’t have isn’t an escape from reality, I don’t know what is, but that’s how governments deal with reality when it gets in their way. Unfortunately, if you are not dead, it becomes your problem, as many European nations are finding out. Reality, like its cousin fact, is a stubborn thing that will not go away. Almost eighteen trillion dollars of American debt is also a stubborn thing that has no intention of going away. Everyone knows it will never be paid, but fortunately it is a reality that is easily ignored. It is somebody else’s problem and we intend to keep it that way. That’s the American way.

Consider “income inequality”. Reality says it would be impossible to make everyone economically equal, unless everyone had nothing. If everyone was guaranteed the same amount of wealth, who would work? Why would they?  If nobody worked where would our food, clothes, home, water, electricity and other necessities of life come from? Would we import them from China? What will we pay them with? Will they accept the computer generated funds that the Federal Reserve gives our banks to “stimulate” the economy? Now there’s and escape from reality, money created by clicking a few buttons on a computer!  But our government isn’t concerned with reality, it believes that there is such a thing as a free lunch, you just have to get someone else to pay for it. Reality says that eventually you’ll run out of suckers to pay for other peoples free lunches, politicians say “that’s somebody else’s problem”.

Social Security is a perfect example of government’s means of escaping from reality. In 1940 the average life span for American men was 61 years and 65 years for women, but you could not start collecting it until you were 65, the idea being that you would die before you received a penny. Now that the average life span is 76 years for men and 81 years for women, they want to increase the retirement age accordingly.  They don’t want to have to pay you because they’ve already spent all of the money we and our employers paid into it. They replaced our money with I.O.U.’s that our children will have to pay, effectively kicking the can down the road. I paid for my father’s benefits and my children pay for mine. Unfortunately, the reality is that our population is retiring at a rate not sustainable by new people entering the work force. In 1941 the age group 65 and older was about 11% of those from 20-64. This increased steadily through the decades until in 2010 it had doubled to about 22%. In the same period the social security tax rate increased from 1% to 6.2% and we received a lot more I.O.U.s for our money.

There used to be a scam called “pass it on”, which was a pyramid scheme. You received an envelope and were asked to put a dollar in it, write your name on it, and then pass it on to someone else who would do the same. Eventually you were supposed to get back more than you put in as the envelope was circulated. Of course, only the people that started the circulation, the people at the top of the pyramid, achieved that. The rest were scammed. That’s essentially the way the social security program works, but it’s even worse. With the envelope scam if you got back any money it was still worth the same as the money you put in. With social security, because of inflation, the money is worth much less when you receive it fifty or so years later. It required more than seven dollars in 2010 to equal the buying power of one dollar contributed in 1960.

This method was so successful that our government decided to use it again with Obamacare.  Its prime targets are the young and healthy.  It is assumed that they will not use the health insurance they are forced to buy. Their money will be used to pay for the older generation’s health insurance, just as it is being used to pay for its social security benefits. In 2010, people 62 years and older made up more than sixteen percent of our population, while the young workers were only ten percent. Once again young people are being forced to pay for someone else’s expenses when it is likely they will never receive any of those benefits themselves. These are the kind of government policies that eventually cause revolutions, but that’s “somebody else’s problem.”

The logical question to ask at this point is, “Why do we, the people, allow our government to do this to us? The answer is simple, we don’t like reality either. Who wants to think about “politics” when there are computerized games to play, “escape” movies to watch, face book to log on to, U tube to scan, etc.?  It’s much easier and a lot more fun to ignore reality than to face it. It’s much easier to accept the “free” entitlements the government offers than it is to work for them. As Nancy Pelosi said, thanks to Obabacare we are now free to stay home and write poetry rather than have to work. So let’s all stay home and do that, and see what happens, after all, in the long run we’ll all be dead. Our politicians are depending on it.


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