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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/1/15

America's Future: Being Crushed By A Mountain of Ever-Growing Debt

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Message Michael Payne

America, without question, is drowning in a sea of debt, barely holding its head above water. There is the massive national debt of the U.S. government, personal/consumer debt, student debt, and an increasing number of U.S. cities and states that are in debt over their heads.

America is literally destroying itself by the monumental debt that we as a nation, government and society have incurred. We are being consumed by this ever-escalating debt running rampant throughout this country. And we seem to be totally incapable of addressing the underlying problems and finding the ways to bring this situation under control.

Massive debt is a destructive force, one that once it gains momentum is almost impossible to bring under control. When we use the word destroying to describe what debt is doing to America we can also use the word killing, in that debt kills creativity, innovation, and constructive endeavors. There is a complete lack of funding available for new, revolutionary initiatives for which America once was known and greatly respected.

This country's national debt has escalated from $5.7 trillion in the year 2000 to the current staggering amount of $18.2. That's an increase of some 319% in just 14 years; that's almost beyond comprehension and it's difficult to imagine the gross incompetence and mismanagement that it took to allow this to happen.

We can blame G.W. Bush for greatly contributing to this debt based on his policies and actions, especially, the mindless, insane wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that cost this country trillions; and we can blame Barack Obama and his administration who have done little to nothing to curb this out of control spending, especially the steady stream that flows to the Military-Industrial Complex and the world-wide U.S. military empire. It didn't long for these two ineffective presidents to come under the control of the Washington Establishment and follow its dictates.

When we look at the debt that is being amassed in U.S. states and cities, the city of Detroit stands out as one that is bleeding profusely and on life support, with no relief of its dire condition in sight. And then there is the state of Illinois which has been struggling mightily to pay its outstanding bills and also has a massive pension debt of over $111 billion. Legislation to try to alleviate this horrendous pension problem is now in the courts and is likely to be declared unconstitutional.

Chicago is another example of out of control debt; it has a similar problem with unfunded pension debt totaling some $32 billion; and to pay its short term bills coming due it is using long term debt such as bonds; that's a vicious circle that once you get caught up in it's almost impossible to get out. The lesson to be learned is that you simply cannot continue to spend more than you take in on a consistent basis; it will never work and at some point you will crash; it's inevitable. We are, in effect, killing the Golden Goose.

Our students are drowning in debt which has now grown to about $1.2 trillion but instead of our government throwing them a life preserver here's what it is doing. Believe it or not the government receives revenues from the student loan program which is administered by Sallie Mae. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that federal student loans originated between 2007 and 2012 will bring in $66 billion in revenue and the government will receive an additional $185 billion in profits on new student loans made over the next ten years.

What kind of a twisted government would do that to the young people of America as they prepare for their life's work? Students leave school and are in a deep hole before they even begin work. If this were a competent government it would be relieving student's debt not compounding it.

I wish someone with great mathematic and economic skills would make a projection using the following factors: take the constantly increasing national debt, add in the continuing and increasing costs of America's wars, the continued decline in the power of the economy, and then make an educated projection to determine at what point in the future these three elements of a perfect economic storm will come together and produce a financial collapse. This will, without a doubt happen; we just don't know exactly when this House of Cards will collapse.

Can't the supposed leaders of this country see that by their totally misguided policies and actions they are propelling this country straight into certain disaster if they don't radically change course? It's as if we in America are standing on the deck of the USS Titanic; we listen to the warnings of "disaster approaching" and then hear the captain give the order, "Stay on course and full speed ahead."

The U.S. manufacturing sector, as we are painfully aware, has been virtually devastated along with its associated workforce. When workers go on unemployment and, often on food stamps, they are contributing to more government spending and more debt; when they take much lower paying jobs they contribute less in taxes. And the debt grows and grows.

While the defense industry corporations are profiting as never before, at the same time we are watching the destruction of the middle class. We are letting our system of education deteriorate. We are destroying our children's and grandchildren's future and assuring that succeeding generation's standard of living will be far less than the one we currently enjoy.

We are killing the American dream for an ever increasing portion of Americans. More and more Americans find their incomes being dramatically reduced but still try to maintain the standard of living to which they have been accustomed and then find that they can't make ends meet; and so they go further and further into more borrowing and added debt.

Americans are caught in a quagmire of debt, to a large degree not due to their own actions but because they have become victims of this country's debt-driven system. The housing catastrophe of 2008 was not their fault, it was caused when a clever scheme by Wall Street robber barons to enrich themselves blew up; and of course they have never been prosecuted for that criminal act.

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