Recent generations of Americans have been raised and educated to view the Government as an omnipotent and never-ending caretaker, as if it is "the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." We personify this caretaker with fatherly characteristics and responsibilities. We state, "They should pay for the poor...They should tax the rich...They should increase Social Security...They should pay for my childcare..." Why do we believe that because we were born, that some entity behind the green curtain should pay for our comfort, much less our survival? Is this belief inherent, or is it instilled? Remember that we must localize all monetary transactions in order to begin to understand how things actually work. In this situation, what we do not realize is that there is no "They." There is only you, me, and our neighbors. If I want someone to pay for my childcare, I should walk over to Mrs. Johnson's apartment once she gets home from work at the bottling plant and let her know that I need her to write me a check. Now, I will need to be prepared for the fact that she might belt out a little Michael Jackson, "If you can't feed the baby then don't have the baby," and moonwalk herself back into her apartment. But, at least I would feel like I had show good character and asked her directly for her money. Governments are pass-through entities just like the Limited Liability Company (LLC) which you set up for your amazing Rodan & Fields skin care side business. "They" only have the money that you agree to give them (and yes, you have to agree - Another Post). "They" produce nothing, create nothing, and cannot survive without you - not the other way around. Now follow me on some of these numbers. A tip - read the numbers slowly and attempt to digest what they really mean. Human nature forces our eyes to glaze over when reading big numbers, and this is exactly what "They" are counting on. The U.S. federal budget this year is approximately $4 Trillion. This is the amount of your money which "They" are going to spend. But, it gets worse. You are only agreeing to give them $3 Trillion, so "They" are going to borrow another $1 Trillion from the Chines, the Japanes, and the Germans so "They" can pay for all of the things we believe that "They" need to give us. Now since Mrs. Johnson gave you the moonwalk instead of a check, and since you still feel that someone else should pay for your childcare, "They" knocked on her door for you and took her money under threat of a long list of punishments, to include federal prison. For the rest of the money that Mrs. Johnson couldn't come up with, "They" went hat-in-hand to foreign countries and bartered away more of Mrs. Johnson's, and your, future in order to get the rest of the money. Now stay with me. since World War II, taxes have grown 15% per year faster than Mrs. Johnson's paycheck from the bottling company, and the federal government's spending has grown a shocking 50% faster than her paycheck. So each year, the IRS Agent knocking on her door takes a larger slice of her pay. But, "They" still don't have enough, so they travel the globe and beg other countries for more and more every year. Now some big numbers again. Because of this trend, the National Debt (our Collective Mortgage) is about $20 Trillion, which equates to $50,000 for every man, woman, and child (so get Junior to work!). But, this does not count Social Security and Medicare, which also have no money. It will cost you and me another $80 Trillion to make up the shortfall we have not saved for the Baby Boomers. This is on top of the Social Security and Medicare taxes we will already be paying out of our paychecks for the indefinite future. This fiasco is called an "unfunded liability." Very important. When "They" tell you that Social Security will "run out of money" in 2032 (or whatever year they keep changing it to), what that really means is that will be the first of many years in which annual worker payments into the system will not be sufficient to make the payments out to the recipients of the system. There is no money sitting in a Social Security bank account holding all of the contributions you gave them out of your paycheck for all those years. The extra "savings" was raided by politicians years ago. There is no money. So because we thought it would be rude and even outrageous to personally ask Mrs. Johnson for her money, and we instead got "Them" to do it by force, we all now collectively owe $100 Trillion, not to include the money we are already obligated to pay each year into the future. I don't even know how many zeroes are in $100 Trillion. Fourteen? In another Post we will address different options for possibly saving this amazing country from bankruptcy, or at least a painful devaluation, like so many other countries have had to do throughout history. But until then, we need to understand that all economics are local. If you want to ask your neighbor to cover some of your expenses, then do it. If you want to pay someone else's bills, that would be a wonderful gesture. Just understand that there is not a middleman who is paying for what we feel we deserve. Not only that, but that guy has even already blown all the cash we gave him to hold for us! "The perfect political party would promote as small a government as possible along with pure capitalism, while not promoting their personal beliefs on me." - Jeff Martinovich "Just One More: The Wisdom of Bob Vukovich," Ash Press, Spring 2018.
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