Debt Burden

July 9, 2015

July 9, 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I pick up the New York Times this week – front page article headline: “Loads of Debt – Stifling debt continues to weigh on governments around the world.”

Even the liberal New York Times knows we can’t continue down this road. Greece is broke and we don’t know what is going to happen there. Puerto Rico’s Governor said that its debt is “not payable.” Closer to home, Detroit has already gone through bankruptcy. Chicago is not far behind.

Our U.S. federal government isn’t there yet, but an honest look at our finances is frightening. We have 18 trillion dollars in debt and rising. Our nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has reported – “Rising federal debt threatens to choke economic growth.” “Our long-term outlook for the federal budget has worsened dramatically over the past several years.”

Here is why the situation could get worse. We have an aging population. Health care costs will rise. We have many generous government entitlement programs that continue to rise. And, keep in mind that interest rates that are at an all-time low will likely go up. Then, the interest on our huge debt will be unmanageable.

We would hope the Congress and President would appreciate the risk that we face. We need to tackle our entitlement programs. That’s where more than 60% of the money is spent. There is pressure to spend more on the military. I don’t support that. We already spent 10 times more than any other country.

Let’s not forget tax reform – too many loopholes and too complicated.

Families, farms, and businesses deal with budgeting and debt problems all the time. Our government just continues to “kick the can down the road.” Politically, it is just too hard. If you take money away from the voters, they won’t vote for you. If you give them money, they will vote for you. So, if you want to get reelected, you can’t fix the problem. Or, perhaps you could take money away from those that would not vote for you anyway (the liberal plan) or take benefits away from those that would not vote for you (the conservative plan). We need a compromise. Pass something that no one likes.

Let’s stop following the Socialist road of Europe. Remember, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said, “Socialism works fine until you run out of other people’s money.” I think we’re there.

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Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.