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Sunday, July 14, 2024 - 05:32 PM

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE VOICE OF UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA

First Published in 1994

INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE VOICE OF
UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA

Did you know America is going bankrupt? Most people don't. Maybe the saddest part about our country's state of affairs is that all our vitriol and dysfunction has come at a time when we aren't even addressing our biggest problems. It would be one thing if America collectively decided we have to be honest about where we are as a country and we were in the middle of a charged debate about how to fix it. Instead, we are fighting about trivial things while pretty much everyone in the country, on all sides of the political spectrum, has decided our real problems are so bad we may as well ignore them. Have you ever had a friend who's had some horrible, embarrassing event in their life? The last thing you want to do is mention it. That's America and our debt problem. It's so bad that we don't talk about it anymore.

It was a full 10 years ago that we were so focused on our debt that then-President Barack Obama was forced to set up a national commission to deal with it. The bipartisan commission led by former Bill Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson came up with a series of recommendations, including tax hikes and reforms to our entitlement programs. They were attacked by both the right and left, and none of the solutions were enacted into law, but at least we were trying.

When the Bowles-Simpson commission was formed, America was about $13 trillion in debt. Today, we owe more than double that, more than $26 trillion. Those numbers are so big nobody understands them. To put it in perspective, our entire economic output in 2020 was $21 trillion. If America could magically not spend a dime -- nobody bought anything, including food or other staples -- and we put it all toward paying off our federal debt for an entire year, we still wouldn't pay it off. In more personal terms, our federal debt now amounts to more than $81,000 for every single person in the country, or over $227,000 for the average household in America.

If the problem is twice as bad as it was 10 years ago, why don't we even discuss it anymore? It's as if we are so close to the iceberg that it's too late to avoid it. Let's just keep the band playing and enjoy things while we can. It's all going to be our kids' problem. This is, of course, a fundamentally anti-American sentiment. The goal of leaving things better for your kids is as American as apple pie. We are certainly not doing that any more.

Our national desire to wish our problems away is so severe that we have even come up with an intellectual framework for it. Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT, is the belief that deficits and debt don't really matter for a sovereign country that can print its own currency. Need more money? You just keep printing more. It's like magic. The bill never comes due.

MMT proponents ignore or explain away the downside to the constant printing of money and issuance of debt, including our creditors losing faith and no longer buying our bonds, hyperinflation and the consequences for the dollar as an exchange traded currency. Despite these huge flaws, it's amazing the extent to which MMT has caught on as a convenient political excuse to continue ignoring our imminent debt disaster.

What will happen in a debt crisis; why are we ignoring this obvious and impending catastrophe; and what should we do about it?

At some point, as we continue to borrow money, the interest we pay on our debt will be so high we will not be able to afford the rest of our budget. The solution will be to borrow more. As the borrowing binge grows, those buying our bonds will grow worried and demand a higher return. This, in turn, will create a vicious debt cycle, which has already happened in many countries around the world. The result is catastrophic reductions in spending and increases in taxes to try to satisfy creditors to keep the money flowing. The only reason we haven't seen it yet in America is we are such an economically powerful country that our creditors have not yet lost faith in our ability to pay it off. If that day comes -- and unless we make changes, it eventually will -- the crisis is going to hurt all Americans.

We are ignoring our looming debt crisis because it's not a winner politically. Both parties contributed to the problem. The Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden administrations will all be to blame. Republicans, traditionally the party of fiscal responsibility, have lost all credibility on the issue. After shutting down the government over spending under Obama, they spent happily at record levels under Trump.

It's attractive for politicians to keep taxes low and spending high. Each of our last four presidential administrations has benefited from this dynamic. Wall Street and global business, which dominates Washington policymaking, has also benefited greatly. These corporate actors care about their next financial quarter a lot more than our country's state of affairs 10 or more years down the road. This period will be looked upon by historians as the saddest time in our history: a once-great country behaving so selfishly and with such short-term interests that they sold their children's futures away with barely any debate.

The biggest cop-out in Washington is the presidential commission. It rarely accomplishes anything. Yet our situation is so bad that another bipartisan commission may be our best bet. The commission should include both corporatists and populists. As much of a cop-out as this is, we are not prepared to begin debating real solutions (which will involve some pain). Shining a light back on the problem may be all we can accomplish today. We should start.

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Neil Patel co-founded The Daily Caller, one of America's fastest-growing online news outlets, which regularly breaks news and distributes it to over 15 million monthly readers. Patel also co-founded The Daily Caller News Foundation, a nonprofit news company that trains journalists, produces fact-checks and conducts longer-term investigative reporting. The Daily Caller News Foundation licenses its content free of charge to over 300 news outlets, reaching potentially hundreds of millions of people per month. To find out more about Neil Patel and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com

COPYRIGHT 2021 CREATORS.COM

 

Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel

Tucker Carlson currently hosts Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (weekdays 8 p.m. ET). He joined the network in 2009 as a contributor.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” features powerful analysis and spirited debates, with guests from across the political and cultural spectrum. Carlson brings his signature style to tackle issues largely uncovered by the media in every corner of the United States, challenging political correctness with a "Campus Craziness" segment and tackling media bias and outrage during "Twitter Storm."

Carlson co-hosted “Fox & Friends Weekend” starting in 2012, until taking on his current role at “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

While at Fox News, Carlson has provided analysis for “America's Election Headquarters” on primary and caucus nights, including in the 2016 and 2012 presidential elections, as well as the 2014 midterm election. He also produced a Fox News special, "Fighting for Our Children's Minds," in 2010.

Prior to working at Fox News, Carlson hosted “Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered” on PBS from 2004 to 2005 and “Tucker” on MSNBC from 2005 to 2008. He joined CNN in 2000 as its youngest anchor ever, co-hosting “The Spin Room” and later CNN's “Crossfire,” until its 2005 cancellation. In 2003, he wrote an autobiography about his cable news experience titled "Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News."

Carlson graduated with a B.A. in history from Trinity College in Connecticut.

Neil Patel

In addition to his role as publisher of The Daily Caller, Neil Patel is co-founder and managing director of Bluebird Asset Management, a hedge fund investing in mortgage-backed securities.

Before starting his two companies, Neil served in the White House from 2005 to 2009 as the chief policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. From 2001 to 2004, Neil was staff secretary to Vice President Cheney. Prior to joining the Bush administration, Neil was assistant general counsel at UUNET Technologies. Earlier in his career, Neil practiced law with Dechert Price & Rhoads. He also served as Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People’s Republic of China. 

Neil received his B.A. from Trinity College in Connecticut and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as associate editor of the Journal of Law and Policy in International Business.

Neil lives in Washington, D.C., and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with his wife, Amy, their two daughters, Caroline and Bela, and their son, Charlie.

COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM