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Cliff Carson

Seems like almost every day you can tune in to round the clock news and see some sweet young thing or some grey haired man with an authoritative voice slamming the Obama budget.   Today Jessica Yellin of CNN was knocking the fact that the Obama budget didn't address the real causes of the National Debt, such as "Entitlement" and she went on to say Social Security , Medicare, Medicaid, and Welfare.   She failed to mention that none was the truly heavy hitters, such as the Wars, the National Debt Interest, and the Unemployed.

An over $3 Trillion dollar budget and skyrocketing debt caused by the Liberal Agenda, they say.   Yes the spin was thoroughly trashing Obama and you could tell she didn't have a clue.   I think you all know what I mean, a 24/7 that what is driving America into the mammoth debt hole is those damned "Entitlements" but never spoken is "War, Debt Interest, Unemployed, or Federal pensions."  

Something else not mentioned is that the first three of those entitlements mentioned above actually pay more into the General Fund than what is pulled from the Treasury to pay benefits.   Yes you read it correctly.    Just step back and take a deep breath and observe these verifiable   facts:

Collections of Social Security payroll taxes and Medicare payroll taxes plus the Costs that Medicare has to pay in monthly premiums collect about $270 Billion more each year than the total benefits paid out.   That $270 Billion also includes the benefits paid for Medicaid ( a program free to the recipients).    And this overpayment has been going on for years.   What does that mean?   Doesn't it mean that they have been paying their own way, and not increasing the debt or deficit?

Well first of all, it means that those entitlements do not increase the debt, they actually could be used to decrease the debt.    But you can bet your last nickel they are not.   Did you realize that the cost of Welfare is mostly borne by the States and that money paid by the States   does not impact the National Debt whatsoever?   Only the amount not paid by the states impacts the National Debt and the Deficit.   The annual cost of all Welfare is about $360 Billion yearly, of which the States pay the majority.

So if I say the   "Entitlements are not the problem, then what is?    But before I get to that - do you know how Veterans Benefits are carried in the Budget?   They are carried as welfare.   Veterans Benefits considered as Welfare, what an insult to our defenders of the country.   But on to the real drivers of debt and deficits in our country - that I claim are almost never mentioned.

The wars.   In the last ten years the United states has incurred costs of over $3 Trillion.   That folks is 3,000 Billion.   And that cost goes straight to the National Debt and the deficits.   Think about it.   In those war years we have spent enough on the wars to pay for all Welfare in that same time.   And remember that less than half the Welfare cost goes toward increasing the National Debt.   So what that means is that without the wars we could have paid all Welfare cost for 20 years without increasing the National Debt or deficit one cent.   And these wars absolutely did not have to happen.

How about the Unemployed?   The actual unemployed count exceeds 26 million.   Now what do those 26 million people not do?   Give up?   They don't pay taxes.   If they don't pay taxes, that lost revenue goes straight to the National debt and deficits.   And most likely, they get unemployment relief.   That adds to the National debt and deficits.   If you don't agree, could you come up with some cockamamie story that will show how the unemployed are actually reducing the National debt and deficits?   You know better don't you.   Ever hear those 24/7 stations saying that unemployment is adding to the debt and deficits?

I mentioned National Debt Interest,   the National Debt Clock shows that interest to be $3.54 Trillion.   Isn't that about the same as the slammed Obama budget? Think that interest might be paying down the debt?   Or would you guess that it is adding to the debt?   Go take a look at the clock, look at the Federal Pensions, you will see that the costs of those pensions are greater that what I have surmised the Federal Government pays out in all Welfare Combined and remember Veterans Pensions are not in that figure, they are in the Welfare account.

What I have shown is the spin put on the backs of the old and poor.     If I add up all the expenditures of Medicare and Social Security it comes to $1.5 Trillion per year.   That's 40.5% of the entire budget - Wow, but wait a minute, since Medicare and Social Security pay in more than they consume, how does that whopping 40.5 % affect the budget, the debt, the deficit?    Well let's see, they pay in 41% of the budget,   and use up 40.5% of the budget.   Seems like a pretty good deal for the Government.

The moral of this story is that what you hear on the 24/7 News channels might not be news, it is most likely spin to frame an agenda.   Now would a Democratic Moral, ethical Government do that?    Probably not.   Anybody know where I can find a Moral, Ethical, uncorrupted Government?

Finally, it is true that I have presented a very simplistic overview of our Governments Financial dealings but if we dig deep to increase the granularity it only gets worse.   Best thing to do is go to the Real Time Debt Clock and you will see what is wrong with this country.

Cliff Carson Cliff Carson is a retired Quality Engineering/Management Professional living in Arkansas. He is an MS Operations Management Graduate of the University of Arkansas and is a Senior Member of The American Society for Quality. He and his (more...)

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Sometime in the past "Spin"  replaced news an... by Cliff Carson on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 9:15:51 AM